Harvesting the Gifts at Hand

© 2008 Art Poskanzer, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

The blackberries are going to be abundant this year – heat early and rain.  I can almost taste the tart goodness now.  From my office, I can see at least two stands of them, and we have some coming in the orchard. Plus, just up the road, a pasture has gone wild with the red-switches of their life.

I think I may take up foraging as an act of worship.

Near here on the highways and byways asparagus grows wild, and if you know where to look on the hillsides, you can find morels and those oniony good things we call ramps.

The farm yard boasts lemon balm gone wild, and our grape vine is tendriling out its frame.  Add to that the onions that are about to flower, the lettuce that is blooming with green and red glory, and the few strawberries I’ve allowed to go to fruit, and we have abundance living within steps.

And the corn stalks – those edible grasses – are coming up so that knee-high will come long before the 4th of July.

I am in awe of nature these days. It feels so cliche to say that and not at all so to live it.

Outside my office door, Ms. Tucker’s peonies are burst with a hot pink vibrancy that I usually dismiss on the toy aisle but am now in thrall with.  Our peach trees are rich with tiny fuzzies, and the cherry tree – the one I thought was just ornamental – is already beginning to bend with the weight of those beauties.

Beyond the garden vegetables that we planted in a few minutes of work, we did nothing to earn a bit of this abundance.  We tend – steward, if you will – the gifts that have been placed gently in our fingers, but we did not do the labor of this richness.

This is grace, gift, love in food.  It is my reminder that all I have is gift, every bit, none of it earned except by grace.  But all given freely because Someone looks at me and finds me precious.

On Sunday, I sat on the hillside outside the farm stand and waved to passing cars.  Philip laughed at me, and I told him I was doing “countryside marketing.”  Most people waved as they were slowed down with the delight of Sunday and able to see beyond the next thing they were doing.  But some did not, did not even notice me, a random woman on a hill where there is usually no one.  I live that way most of the day – so busy that I don’t even see.  I am working to change that.

Later this morning, I will take my loppers and trim up the raspberries that are growing too close to the pasture gate. I’ll pull out the spirals of honeysuckle and share all that abundance with the goats, who gobble briars like they are honey.  I’ll make space for the iris fronds that are restoring themselves for next year, and I’ll pull up ground ivy – a prime chicken snack – around the pergola to make way for the sweet scene of jasmine vines.

Sometimes, all life asks is that we slow down, harvest the gifts at hand, tend what is before us, and say a sigh of thank you.  And always, with every breath, that is enough.