In the stillness of dawn,
Summer showers silently fell to earth;
The sky sprinkled with spent rain clouds,
Obligingly yielded to early morning’s sun.–Apron Girl
Sunny skies greeted me in the morning, which meant it was a good day to collect the treasure I sought at the local berry field… two crates of ripe, juicy, raspberries piled high. Arriving at my destination, my berry-picking-buddy-Anna and I were full of anticipation for the morning’s harvest as we grabbed our boxes from the car. Attired in work clothes and grubby shoes, we proceeded down the muddy path toward the raspberries, carefully avoiding the biggest puddles along the way. And yet with each and every step, the bottom of my shoes became more and more layered with mire as I continued to plod my way on the soggy dirt road–resolutely continuing on in spite of mucky soles that made walking somewhat awkward.
We were assigned our row for picking simultaneously with three ladies who were positioned opposite us. Their lively and somewhat boisterous chatter included discussions about music selections for a daughter’s upcoming wedding… garage sale successes and failures, and how “she” was the only person she knew that actually lost money participating in a sale… the accumulation of things and stuff after living in the same house for twenty years… discussing if there was any way to enjoy raspberries, other than eat them fresh… I admit I was slightly annoyed at their loud on-going conversation, and it wasn’t until they left I realized there really is Berry Field Protocol: pick carefully and talk quietly. The soothing sounds of various languages floating across the field and the melodic voices of children created a sweet and relaxing hum of busy and productive individuals. Parents spoke kindly, children responded respectively, and gentle conversations took place as pickers made their way down the rows. Stories of family were quietly shared and a tranquility filled the air as the time-honored tradition of gathering summer’s bounty unfolded… it was as if we were somewhere else in time.
I look forward to fresh raspberries all year and this was the first summer John did not go along–the result of children growing and setting out on their own. I missed his humor and keen ability to “clean up after his mom” as he followed behind me, but my heart forever remains full of precious memories of John, Anna, and I as side-by-side we quietly shared stories and chuckled softly in the berry field.