Monday, September 03, 2007

I spent the drizzly afternoon yesterday picking soggy blackberries from our bushes. Chante' was in tow, and was happy to help me fill the bucket. The boys were happy to tag along and pretend some kind of battle scene at every turn. DeVon with his thick blue nylon rope, and Zion with his newly aquired wooden dagger and plastic shield.
It's been years since I've been in the "bush" picking berries. (Though, this hardly qualified as "bush"... we were on the corner of our block... an empty lot.) But, it wasn't long before the rythym came back to me:
Find a cluster.
Make your way into the brush.
Pick as many berries as one hand can hold.
Drop into the bucket.
Avoid thorns.
Find a cluster....

And, I remembered the quiet that comes over you. No need to chat. Just the smell of rain and the wet leaves making prints on your jeans. And when my mind was quiet I found myself wondering what could be learned from the berry-bush?
Here are a few things:

What the berry bush reminded me about relationships:

Look for the well rounded ones. The ones that are ripe and ready. Knowing which ones are ripe, ready and flavourful takes experience. Have a go at it. Taste and see.
It will take some work to get prepared to glean from them. Don't avoid the trip just because it may require some planning and delicate work.
Once you've made your way in, take an assesment of what you really want. You can't have them all. You can't reach them all.
As your fingers reach out to harvest one, beware of the thorns. But, don't be afraid of them. Otherwise you'll never get anywhere.
As you begin to pull, notice... does it come easily? Or, does it hesitate? The ones that hesitate aren't ready. And, if you pull it, you will find that despite it's ripe colour, it's really rather sour. A few more days and that one will be ready too.
If you pull one that keeps it's thorns attatched to itsself you have a choice... you can grip the thorny part and hope it comes off easily... but more than likely, you will have just pricked yourself and have regretted thinking you could save it. It's time to just let that one go.
Not all are worth the effort. Some require more growth. Some refuse to be harvested.
But, others are hidden under large leaves. Out of the way. And these, I find, are the biggest, readiest, most flavourful of all. But, you have to change your point of view to find them. You must crouch. You must lift the barriers gently. They will reveal themselves to you. And, those will be the sweetest of all.

I learned a lot that afternoon. It was almost as if God was speaking to me through a soggy bush. I'll be fine here. I have my part, and they have theirs. And, I must remember whose is whose.


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