strawberry fields forever

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Sometimes I need
only to stand
wherever I am
to be blessed.
― Mary Oliver, Evidence: Poems

Last week the days grew so warm that on one afternoon the kids even ran through the sprinkler in the backyard. Again friends invited us along on an adventure, this time to pick strawberries, and we went in spite of life chaos because — well, because I’m learning sometimes life is chaotic; strawberries, on the other hand, only come once a year. In a moment our children quickly swarmed the ripened fields with their wagons, tossing the sun-warmed berries into their bag or box, gladly sneaking a few for tasting. It wasn’t until Liam boasted he had already collected 7 pounds that I had second thoughts about giving each child their own container. And it wasn’t until both sons stood holding bags dripping with fresh strawberry juice that I had second thoughts about giving them bags. Clearly, I am an amateur strawberry-picker. At the end of the trip, my sister and I ended up toting home a combined 25 pounds of strawberries (a nice chunk of our grocery budget), many of which were now pressed and leaking onto the car mats (thank you, rubber floor mats). While I spent the rest of the afternoon sorting, cutting, preserving, or eating berries, I kept chuckling to myself at the day’s events — what a wreck! But when I thought back through the smiles, lunch with friends, the feet in long grass, and the pleasure of plucking food from the earth, I knew I had purchased more than strawberries.

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