It’s berry season. I helped my uncle Doug pick from his raspberry patch this week. He stayed on the perimeter, but I waded into the jungle of canes, over my head, to pull in cluster after cluster of huge, ripe berries. Much to our chagrin, they were so ripe that a few fell to the ground when we disturbed their perch.
Doug’s garden is large, unruly, unkempt, disorderly, chaotic . . . and wonderful. He recently cut down the huge cottonwoods that dwarfed the humble home at the back of the city lot. I was sad about that, but now sunshine fills the space and the banana-yellow evening primroses love it. Their blooms shriveled and fell as we worked, after their one-night-stand in the moonlight.
Nearby is a stand of quakies that Doug has allowed to sucker outward until it resembles a natural grove. Hollyhocks bloom in chorus. And everywhere, gloriosa daisies, tall and gangly, held upright by their neighbors, beam with nary a care to be goggled at by human eyes. Doug carefully cut a huge bouquet of sweet peas for me - pink, purple, blue, and candy-cane striped red and white – oh their heavenly scent!
He can’t bend his knees very good, or stoop for that matter, but he manages to wrangle his garden into a wonderland each year. His long gray hair wisps across his face as he works.
He sent me home with nearly all the berries we picked that morning. Mark and the kids gorged on them; I froze two plump bags and made jam with the rest.
The plants that live in Doug’s yard seem to grow bigger and bolder than the same species in other yards. Maybe all the flora over the years, left to express themselves with little interference from human hands, has lead to more fertile soil. Maybe the lack of definition creates living things that live more abundantly.
I’m always finding lessons from the natural world. Today it is to back off and let some things figure themselves out. Back off – and watch my children, my endeavors, my relationships flourish.
|good for picking|
|daisies and primroses in shades of yellow|
|the sitting room|
|sweet peas - plenty for a bouquet!|