Have you ever had the opportunity to go berry picking? I don’t mean the kind that you’d pick up at the store.
I used to do a lot of berry picking when I was young, and it was a favourite activity. It usually also involved a chance to go out for a picnic with my mom and grandfather, Cappy Guy. My mom would prepare the meal and pack it up for the three of us. We would take off in Cappy’s little car, which he never did seem to get, to handle how to shift properly. So I remember bouncing around while riding in the back seat, but I loved every second of the trip.
After dinner, they would sit and have coffee together and Cappy would light up his pipe. I still like the smell of pipe tobacco when I get a whiff. It always reminds me of Cappy Guy and picnics. Then we would start berry picking. Mom taught me to dress in clothing that would keep me covered up to prevent vicious scratches from the berry bushes. I did get a few scratches each time. It was unavoidable, I was young and those prickly BlackBerry bushes were nasty to reach into.
I remember the delight of getting down into the woodsy area where the berries grew. The three of us would quietly be picking berries. Of course, we would be eating a few berries along the way. A lot went in my mouth first. Then when I was full of berries, they started piling up in my little container. No one was talking. We were all quiet, enjoying picking the berries. When a container was full, I would hear them talking to each other. I was rarely the first one with a full bucket since many berries went into my stomach.
It was such a calm and peaceful place. Being in nature, safely tucked away in the forest with my mom nearby. Everything was green and lush, and it was a beautiful time of the year. There were birds and breezes I would pause and listen to. It was a joy to be in nature. Do you feel that way when you get out in nature, whether it’s in a park or provincial park or in the woods somewhere?
It brings us to a calm place, it settles us down, a more grounded, peaceful space. Unfortunately, we don’t get to that space often enough. To this day, I am grateful for every opportunity I get to pick fresh berries. My husband laughs at me when I full stop to pick a few wild berries when I spot them.
These days he’s getting a chuckle seeing me at the front of our house. We moved here about a year ago and discovered that a special tree is at the front of our house. Just beyond my office window there is a beautiful little mulberry tree. This year it is a very happy tree loaded with nutritious, yummy mulberries. I have been out there daily picking some of our prolific crop of sweet little purple mulberries. I certainly eat more than I keep, that is half the fun of this tree. It is a pleasure having my own mulberry tree for berry picking. Every time I go for more berries I think of my mom, knowing she would be right beside me if she were here today.
It is important to remember and enjoy and be grateful for our fond memories as they arrive. Enjoy those little pleasures in life, even if there isn’t a fond memory attached. I suggest that you enjoy your little pleasures. Take a moment to pick those berries. Take a moment to breathe in fresh air. Notice your surroundings and be grateful. We must recognize the lovely little treats in our life that come along. Be grateful for them and for those who taught us how to recognize a good opportunity.
I will always be grateful to my mom for teaching me the pleasure of picking berries and tending to a vegetable garden, for watching things grow in nature and being grateful for its gifts.