Ramblings from the berry patch… on being selfless

We are blessed with three lovely acres of land where we live. We’ve taken advantage of it by planting fruit trees, vegetable gardens, and blueberry and raspberry bushes. The berries are usually where we find our bounty every year, and this year has been no different.

As I walk through the somewhat chaotic berry patch, I find my thoughts flying in a million directions. Sometimes to problems of the day; sometimes to plots and dialogue; and often to simple, small lessons I glean each time I go berry picking.

So, as a sort of writing exercise and to kick the muse in the butt, I’ve decided to share some of those rambling insights here. Wisdom from the berry patch — take it or leave it — but it’s something I’ll be reminded of whenever I retrieve a bag of frozen berries this fall and winter. I see pie and cobbler in my future. 😉

One thing I’ve discovered while berry picking is that I really do not enjoy raspberries all that much. They tend to be pretty sour. Those little seeds are difficult to chew at times and get stuck in your teeth. But the worst part? Picking them can be torture.

Raspberries grow on rather rambling bushes or vines — vines covered in nasty, sharp little thorns. Even the leaves have thorns. They tend to grab hold of anything that gets close — skin, clothing, hair — and they don’t let go without a struggle. They dig in, rip, tear and otherwise impale. It’s the main reason birds and other wildlife don’t seem to bother the fruit. It’s too much work and too painful — I can easily imagine bird getting caught in those thorns.

But, I pick the raspberries anyway. We usually get two crops: one in summer; one in late fall. I asked myself the other day as I again wound up tangled in a long, thorny vine: “Why do I bother?” I don’t like them that much. Honestly, I could go the rest of my life without tasting anything raspberry flavored and I’d be just fine. But I do the work because at least three people in my family love them. That, and the fact that they are basically free — a blessing given us from what started as a few slim, scraggly plants.

How many things do we do every day for the people we love? How many things are we reluctant to pass by if someone is just “giving” them away? Sure, I’d rather have free books or chocolate, but there’s just something satisfying in knowing that with a tiny bit of labor, you can gather a blessing of sorts. A blessing that those you care about will someday enjoy.

No, not patting myself on the back, really. Just recognizing that some days yes, I do the right thing. It seems easier when it’s for my family.


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