This week we’re picking blueberries and sugar snaps. It is hotter than hot, but somehow it’s almost always just a little bit cooler on the farm. After a week of city heat, and sloth with everyone’s nerves growing together like tangled weeds it feels good to leave the kids on the stone wall to eat our just harvested blueberries and head out to pick sugar snaps solo.
I hear a couple of teenage boys talking to one another between a wall of upright vines. They’re not trashing some classmate, talking about the latest short cut on a video game or commiserating about they’re awful swim coach, but rather checking in about the status of their quart container and how they love these things (“What are they again?” one asks.) They pick a few more and as they stroll out from between the now weed-encroached rows sigh over the fact that this will probably be the last time to pick these sweet green pods.
As I start my picking, I find one or two sun-dried pods and wonder if I have picked a bad row. I keep walking and find one or two still soft and sweet peas but still very few. I have a little technique I like to use for peas and beans. They are so well camouflaged among their leaves, but if you give the vine a little shake, the leaves barely move and the peas or beans swing with reckless abandon. It’s my version of the vegetarian hunt! I snap them off as their swinging slows and then move on to the next one. Still I only find a few and then somehow I find a sugar snap that’s a bit higher and I look up. I notice a half dozen high on the vine. I continue my picking looking up thinking about how sometimes life is like that. We forget to look up.
Another little life lesson that the farm teaches me is that you can go back the same path you came up and you will find so many things that you missed. I pick a few more heading into the row and then I turn around and head back out finding plenty of sugar snaps up high on my way back out to finish filling my quart. I grab a few to snack on as I walk out. They are as sweet as the sun is hot and even before we all head out to the pool, I’m feeling refreshed…mind..body and soul. There’s something about the space on the farm and the hard, but organic work of things growing that let’s you slow down and breathe a little deeper.
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