Berry Picking

2:05 PM

$15/gallon - that's a lot of blueberries
There are only a few things for which I am willing to wake up really early.

Going to work each day was one of them. Catching a flight is another. I used to meet my sister Rachel Wednesdays at 6 for a discipleship time.

But other than that...not much will compel me to crawl out of bed at the crack of dawn. Much less on a Saturday.

But sometimes, for good friends, I make exceptions. Last week, my friend, Holly (also the midwife in training who was at Dorien's birth), invited me and the kids to go blueberry picking with her on Saturday. She didn't really mention a time, so I eagerly accepted her invitation. Then she texted me that we'd be meeting at her house at 6:30am in order to beat the heat. Gulp.

It's tricky to wake myself up, much less my two kids who also love to sleep. Dorien would just be haplessly lugged around wherever I went regardless.

But I figured the novelty of blueberry picking, plus the prospect of seeing Holly would be a good incentive. Turns out I was right. I managed to wake up on time myself, Brooklyn sprang out of bed full of excitement, August was a little more sluggish, but equally determined to not miss out. (I left Kyle at home to sleep).

We met Holly and two other girls, Suna, Laura and her son, Holland, and drove out for miles and miles to a little house in the country with rows and rows of blueberry trees. I say trees because I don't know if they're supposed to be bushes or trees, but these were bigger than bushes. Much taller than me. And laden with blueberries in various stages of ripening.  

A Blueberry Sandwich

Armed with our white plastic buckets and grubby clothes, we tromped back through mid-calf length grass glistening with early morning dew. Instantly my shoes were soaked and shortly after my bum as Dorien decided he must eat right then and there. I plopped down amid the rows of blueberry trees, nestling into the damp grasses and nursed Dorien as I watched everyone find their spot amid the clusters and begin  to pick.

Assembly demonstrated by August

With Holly's help, Brooklyn and August learned a valuable lesson right off - only eat the BLUE berries. The pretty white, pink and red berries are unripe and puckeringly bitter.Like I said, a valuable lesson. Especially since all of us managed to eat as many as we picked! Brooklyn also will tell you that if you gently buff the berries against your shirt, the outer whiteness will deepen to a glossy midnight blue. She took pride in doing that to every berry she ate.

Mastery of assembly demonstrated by Brooklyn

There is something ridiculously therapeutic about picking berries in the early morning with the occasional bee swooping between you and the branches...the rooster nearby crowing...the snorting of horses...the light filtering between branches as the sun reluctantly climbs the eastern sky. It was my first meeting with Suna and Laura, so we passed the time with leisurely conversation, laughter, shared memories, stories of meeting our husbands, having our babies, buying houses, miracles we'd experienced, trials we was life at its most basic and elemental. I felt our very interaction was the stuff of marrow and sunlight, of sustenance and  truth, of the bonds between women since the beginning of time, of peasants and roots and earth and children and love. It was fulfilling and not just because my breakfast was fresh-picked blueberries. 

And now consumption of the little sandwich.
Dorien fell asleep in my Baby Bjorn, the other children played at our feet, eating berries until their bellies ached and our buckets were full. And I came home with fresh, unchemically-treated, plump blueberries that will last us for quite awhile. I am freezing lots to use when there are no fresh berries to pick. And meanwhile, we're dipping our hands periodically in the bowl on my countertop, getting our fill of this one particular SuperFood. 

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