If you’re a regular blog reader of ours, your first thought upon seeing the title of this week’s blog may have been “what the heck is this about?” Well, I happen to love, love, love blueberries and here’s why:
A few years back, I became aware of a local blueberry farm not too far from where I live. It’s a family owned farm, been around for a few generations, and during the summer months, you’ll find some of the best blueberries, blackberries, scuppernongs and muscadine grapes. I start visiting their Facebook page around mid-May, awaiting the big announcement of opening day which is usually on a Saturday. Two years ago, I learned what a rite of passage this is for many people, and now for me, it signals the beginning of summer and a time to reflect.
For some reason (I can’t explain it), I HAVE to be the first or one of the first people there on opening day. This started for me last year, when I arrived at the farm around 6:30 a.m. (for a 7:00 a.m. opening) and discovered I was the FIRST one there. Minutes later, the cars started lining up behind me awaiting the opening of the gates. Secretly, I was delighted I was the FIRST one there, and no one else could enter until I did. Why did such a small act put such a big smile on my face? At 7:00 a.m., Nancy walks down the drive way with her bright smile, says good morning and opens the gate. Slowly, we all drive to the designated parking spot, get out of our cars, get our plastic bag lined buckets for picking and converge on the field. Within minutes, there are 20 or so cars, with kids, moms, dads, grandparents and everyone in between. Blueberry picking has begun.
This year, that same drive and determination to be the FIRST one there returned, and two days ago, I repeated the same cycle as last year. Waking up at 5:30 a.m. on a Saturday, walking the dog, eating some breakfast, driving the short distance to the farm until I arrived. This year, I discovered that I was the THIRD car in line waiting to get in. I felt a little defeated (a little miffed perhaps) that someone had stolen my rightful place in that blueberry line. Ten minutes later, as I was the first person to walk into the blueberry field (the other two cars in front of me headed to the blackberries), I felt as though order had been restored. (But then I asked myself, why was it so important that I be the first one to arrive? I’m actually still pondering my answer).
For me, picking blueberries is such a simple joy. The bushes are wet with morning dew, the birds, who have had unfiltered access to all of these berries, are now on high alert as strangers converge upon their buffet. It’s peaceful… it’s relaxing… its meditation… it’s reflection and brings me such joy. I only had about an hour, but during this hour, I managed to pick almost 7 pounds of these ripe, plump, nutritious and beautiful berries! Do you have simple acts such as this that bring you joy and happiness? As many of us say sometimes, “it’s the small things”, and this my friends was a small act, but one that filled my heart and mind. I encourage you to find something for yourself – something that brings you joy and satisfaction and make it a priority. For me, it’s part of looking after myself and taking care of me.
Now, what will I do with 7 pounds of blueberries? Many will be eaten this week and the others frozen. I’ll make a few trips back to the farm to pick another 10 pounds or so. From this year’s bounty of blueberries, I have plans for jam, muffins and scones. Let’s not forget that from a nutritional standpoint, blueberries are one of nature’s superfoods!
I’ll take the health benefits, but I would recommend they add a few more benefits related to the joy and peace of mind one can get from spending an hour or so picking your own. Try it for yourself sometime, and let me know if this works for you.