For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven; a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted – Ecclesiastes 3:1-2
It’s peach season here in Central Virginia. About a week ago, I purchased a half-bushel (the equivalent of 2 pecks, 4 gallons or 24 pounds) of early yellow cling peaches from Saunders Brothers. We’ve been eating peaches (small sample pictured left) and making peach ice cream ever since – there’s nothing like it.
In New England, where I grew up, fruit ripened later. We picked both wild and cultivated strawberries from mid to late June (see my Father’s Day post), red and black raspberries and blackberries in mid-summer, peaches at a local orchard in late summer and Macintosh and Delicious apples at Todd’s orchard in the fall. Birds always ate our cultivated blueberries. During our trips to Maine in August, we more than compensated for the loss.
Mile 21 North on the Maine Turnpike has an unofficial pull-off – a sandy dirt patch next to a ditch. Just beyond is an open field of wild blueberries. My parents, sisters and I would stop every year and grab handfuls of small, ripe berries hanging from low, scrub plants. We’d fill our drinking cups and bellies. I wasn’t sure why blueberries liked to grow wild in southern Maine, but I was sure glad they did.
In the past few days, I’ve been doing some work outside, taking advantage of post-cool front weather. While pulling weeds and cutting back volunteer trees in the meadow, I noticed two healthy clumps of thorny stalks, which looked very much like pricker bushes. I was about to cut them down with my hand sythe when I noticed berries.
”Well, I’ll be doggone. Those are blackberries,” I said. I walked down slope to the next clump. “And these are black raspberries – my favorites.” Birds had probably “planted” them from seed. I sampled our volunteer crop – yum!
I thought about August’s wild blueberries growing in southern Maine and June’s wild strawberries and red raspberries growing in the field in front of our house in Connecticut. If blackberries and black raspberries want to grow in our meadow here at Vanaprastha and feed us in July, why not encourage them? And maybe plant some red raspberries, too.
Perhaps these berries are a metaphor: there is a time to grow and bear fruit wherever you are during each season of life.
What are you growing?