As i stomped my way through the briars and undergrowth today in order to get to the black raspberries beside the old homeplace, i wondered if they were glad to see me. I didn’t feel Euell Gibbons spirit or anything like that but the sense that I had was that these plants do their best every year to produce good fruit and many times it withers on the cane because no one takes the time to search them out. There they sit in the full sun waiting for some fearless pioneer to pass by and take an interest in them. One almost has to wonder where are the deer or the bear who are constantly on the prowl for a free meal.
I can almost hear each berry say “thank you”…”thank you”…”thank you” each time I release one of its fruits and the tight little branch it is attached to snaps back back and forth before finally coming to rest as my hand reaches through to another single berry or better yet a cluster of ripe goodness.
I remember one time years ago Sandi and I walked past a house that had just been torn down in order to make way for a new highway. In the front of the house there had been a glorious dry-stacked stone wall that had been almost totally covered by years of neglect. Sandi was into stone walls and I was into helping her do her thing and we came back with a truck and began to load what was left of those stones for transport back to our house and another rock walkway, patio or assemblage. It was almost as if it was our duty to the person who had diligently found and placed those rocks years before, to gather them up and reuse them—to continue the tradition that had begun in some field twenty or thirty years before our little afternoon walk.
The idea of letting that anxious bulldozer plow them under as if they were somehow deserving of that fate was much too much to contemplate. We would save those flat worn stones and incorporate them into our living space and enjoy them for as long as we could before we to, go the way of all flesh.
It seems like only the right way to think—we have to preserve what is good and fitting of our heritage or it will be lost forever. Not that we cling to things out of some desperate motive to prolong our days or give meaning to our time here on earth—but that we enter into the stream of history that flows past us sometimes like a torrent and other times is like looking at a landscape that hasn’t had rain in a while and all we see are the gaping cracks like veins running through our lives.
That such randomness can hold so much mystery amazes me. That a thirty minute piece of time picking berries can hold such interest and be filled with such poetry is a constant joy.
As the words and music inside our heads complete the soundtrack of our lives, let us rejoice in the peace that passes all understanding. That’s a good ride any day.