Sunday, August 18, 2013

Blackberry Picking

"Mommy, Mommy, come look at the fish that are drowning," Myra titters, her willowy fingers spread like exclamation points. She waves toward the koi pond at the end of the veranda. "Mommy, look," she bursts.

I follow caught in her net of excitement.

"See, a RED one," she twitters.

"And a whitish one," Jack joins.

"And orange," Lucy shouts.

Conversation avalanches into bursts of color, a sluice of whoops and coos, jubilant cheers. The red one glides past a floating moss carpet. Alfalfa sprout green, vermillion red, I hurrah in time with their standing ovation.

I settle in, the last dregs of afternoon gossamer threads spooling up to the horizon. I collect towels, a whole alp of swimming towels meshed together in rhapsodic patterns.

We join in the clean up, amass memorials of our fun, a whole festival of dives and can-openers, the slosh soaked audience, distilled down to the gentle gathering of flip-flops, armfuls of miscellaneous t-shirts, a sock, lawn toys, pop bottles, crinkled plates with napkins smushed into the last smudges of food.

Myra marches back across the veranda. "That's the sun," she trills. "That moon up there is the SUN." She hops down the steps one at a time. "Grandad, that moon up there is the SUN," she clucks.

There we are in the middle of the moist green grass, a paper table cloth half-cleared, a full ice chest mostly emptied, cans sprawled on the lawn, and we stop. That moon of a sun all round and piercing bright, we take in.

The moment swells, encircles us, a meridian at our backs, as if the whole sky were holding us back, holding us down, holding us together, winging us around that big flying sun.

And then it's Saturday. We thump-bump up the old mountain road, the crumbling seam between crisp wheat fields and lentil fields golden with August. The ascending rivulet of dust, airborne and amber, I sling an arm around Joe. The shocks all but gone, the bouncing bench seat of the gray pick-up sways with each washed out groove. We rock in the lullaby.

Craig rests his hand on my knee. The older children perched in the pick-up bed, huzzah and laugh in leisure cadence, the valley like the train of a gown seamed together by old country roads stretches down, down, down to a swaying flatland.

"There's something really healing about beauty," I sigh, my eyes captive with the undulating fields of ripe gold.

And then in perfect cadence, Craig catches my eye. "I always feel that way when I look at you," he says. His silhouette there, all blue eyes and dark hair, whisker scruff, I laugh. We both do. We laugh and laugh for the good feeling between us.

"That's a good one," I say and swing my eyes over the wide valley. "That actually is a really good one."

The afternoon loops around and around, a spirograph of love unwinding around us.


4738. We start school. The children beg me to start. What could I say?

4739. Mom mentions Lucy's eye at a dinner party and opens up a whole world of new possibilities with a new doctor.

4740. I read his research. Impressed.

4741. We visit the new doctor. "He has a great sense of humor," Jack says. "I like him," Lucy says. He all do.

4742. My dad's office invites us to his annual company picnic. All that humor and good fun, character and value, we feel special to be included.

4743. Miss Lynne arrives home in the middle of the night from travels and comes to visit the next day with travel gifts for the children. They bloom with felicity.

4744. We have dinner on the farm. Bountiful favor and goodwill. A table full of both food and family.

4745. Mashed potatoes.

4746. Swatsiban pie.

4747. 1/8 of a side of beef. We clean out our freezer and fill it up.

4748. Blackberry picking.

4749. Jack sustains a bee sting and recovers before we finish picking.

4750. We pick five pies worth of berries.

4751. "A deer just went across the road into the trees," Craig says as we descend the mountain. Jack cranes his neck and widens his eyes. "Deer can climb trees?!" he says.

4752. I ride shotgun with Craig in the old pick-up.

4753. Craig takes me on a date to coffee and a romantic stroll through our neighborhood.

4754. We meet up with old friends in the church parking lot.

4755 We end another Sunday with cousins at the pool.

4756. Jane cradles her new baby doll from Miss Lynne. "I squeeze her so tight sometimes," she says, "she just feels so little." She cradles the baby to her shoulder.

4757. Jane petitions to volunteer at all three weekend church services. She glows serving alongside her father.

4758. We settle in for a slow night before the second week of school. Routine, sweet, sweet routine -- we trace her beautiful sway.


  1. The healing power of beauty. That is what your writing does. It brings beauty to where its healing powers can be accessed. Not only accessed but IMPLEMENTED. Makes for the best kind of Monday.

    Beauty's voice is gratefulness, wouldn't you say?

  2. Totally. Beauty's voice is gratefulness. You taught me everything I know about beauty.

  3. Of course deer can climb trees. ;-)

  4. Thank you for the great list! Enjoy those pies!

  5. #4758 EXACTLY how I feel about routine, structure, discipline. Thank you! And I DO think the best doctors have a good sense of humor!