It finally rained last night. The morning brought with it a bite of breeze off the ocean that can only mean one thing : summer is nearly gone.
That means rains on the horizon, cooler nights and frost to come. Time to get in the harvest. What little of it there is.
This year has been the saddest in the garden.
My beautiful, rich, hard-won soil has been mostly blanketed in sod in preparation for sale. Our usually bountiful tomato crop that would normally see every flat surface in the house rolling with heirlooms, is this year but a few lonely strays, huddling together on my windowsill.
It just doesn’t feel right. It has been a difficult summer.
Despite everything, out I went this morning into the dew in my flip-flops and jammies to harvest the herbs. Heap after heap piled onto the front stoop : rosemary . . . bay . . . thyme . . . sage. The bees are still busily working what is left of the oregano flowers. I left it to them. I’ll miss them when I go.
After coffee and banana bread the boy and I headed down the block to our blackberry spot, where, as usual, I was the only one foraging.
For the first half hour the boy ate them faster than I could pick them, poking my bottom and prodding Mooooore! whenever I went too slow. He finally collapsed in a snoring, sticky, purple heap and left me to pick in peace.
It gave me time to think about the lessons the harvest will teach him.
There really is a time for every purpose. No time underscores that more for me than harvest time.
Last night driving home from a family dinner I saw men in the blueberry fields at last light – a Sunday evening and there they were, bringing in the harvest.
The blackberries will only be on for so long, a few weeks more and the herbs will begin to wither and die. Whatever my son undertakes in his life, be it love or work, education or family, I hope he will remember to make hay while the sun shines.
You never know what tomorrow will bring.
Everything in life has it’s proper pace. We may have to work quickly to bring in the harvest, but we don’t always have to rush.
Today I picked blackberries while my son slept, worked slowly but methodically so as not to prick my fingers (too much) and listened to the bird song rise and fall over the traffic.
Opportunity often looks like work
Most people don’t recognize opportunity when it comes, because it’s usually dressed in overalls and looks a lot like work – Thomas Edison
My husband is a farm boy at heart.
He’s a businessman now, self-made, and he works his ass off for everything we have. Although I am of course grateful for the fact that he provides for our family, I am even more grateful for the values he models for our son.
Growing up on the farm taught him how to work hard and to understand that if he wants something, he’ll have to work for it.
He sees opportunity everywhere.
Work isn’t always hard
Our culture, and many others, seem to place value on a masochistic view of work. We have to be slaving away, chained to our desk to be working.
Work = toil.
That’s often the case, (God knows I hated my job) but not always.
Work can be pleasurable. It can even be a joy. In fact, the most rewarding, fulfilling work often doesn’t feel like work at all.
Don’t begrudge the low-hanging fruit
The low-hanging fruit will fill your basket (and your belly) just as surely as the higher-hanging fruit will.
It’s important sometimes to gather what you can with the least amount of effort and risk. Just because it isn’t as hard to attain, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have value.
Take only what you need
Take what you need and leave the rest for the rest.
The birds and neighbours and wasps and other critters have just as much right to the berries as we do.
Greed is born out of fear and an ignorance of true need. Know your needs intimately, and you will be less afraid of not attaining your wants.
You won’t need them.
The fact that a tiny seed transforms into a plant that will nourish us is really nothing short of a miracle. That we can walk the sidewalks of urban East Van and glean beautiful, juicy blackberries for free is certainly something to be thankful for.
A spirit of gratitude keeps us humble.
Nature / the universe / god / whatever you want to call it, surrounds us in abundance everyday, we just have to look for it.
I hope my boy will approach the world with open eyes that can always see the plenty that surrounds him.
- i heart east van (slowfoodsmama.com)