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Wednesday, June 6, 2012
Raspberry Picking is a Lot Like Pregnancy
This blog was originally posted a few years back. As I watch the finches in my backyard skitter in and out of my own raspberry bushes, it made me think of this, though; and I thought it was worth a repost. Enjoy! =========================
OK, I'll admit that, even for the most intelligent person, the title of
this blog may sound a bit confusing. It all started with a trip to the
local u-pick farm...
Every year I go to a local farm to
pick raspberries. I started out taking my children because I was of the
mindset that it's a good idea to take them out and have them experience
that sort of thing. Over the years, the whining in the fields and the
whining that even precedes
the trip has reached a fevered pitch. I remind them that, just like the
story of the Little Red Hen, if they don't help, they don't get to
partake in the bounty. The response I normally get is, "But, I don't
even like raspberries, so who cares?" I've given up on every making them
into champion raspberry pickers so this year I went alone.
farm I go to is only about a mile from where I grew up. It's a great
place, and one would never guess that a booming metropolis is a mere 15
minutes away. It was a warm day but more tolerable than the 90+ degree
weather we had the week prior. I got my buckets, was told what area of
the farm was open to picking that day and set out on my journey. I
settled on a row to head down and began. For the first several feet, the
pickings were miserable. Little, itty
bitty berries that were either not ripe yet or overripe and there
weren't even very many of those. "Great," I thought, "this is what it's
going to be like. I'll work and work and still not get anything to shout
As I progressed down the row, conditions began
to get slightly better. My experience was still not ideal but it was at
least getting better. There were people all around in different rows
and that was about all I could hear - voices of men, women, and children
in at least three different languages. I continued to pick as I
imagined who these people were; what their personal stories were.
As I persistently
made my way down the row, my bucket slowly filling up, the berries
became more prolific and closer to the perfection I was looking for. If
you've ever picked raspberries, you know, too, that sometimes the best
berries aren't in plain sight. So, being an experienced raspberry
picker, I was, at times, head first halfway into the vines searching out
the best of what they had to offer. I thought, "I must be a real
sight," but then realized that I didn't hear voices anymore. Instead, I
could hear the swallows and finches calling to each other. There were
two hawks circling and calling. There was a tractor somewhere in the
distance. The geese at the neighboring farm were honking. I breathed
deep and could smell the sweet scent of hay. It was peaceful and I
suddenly felt very centered and present and in tune with what was going
on around me.
It was then that it occurred to me that
this was lot like pregnancy. You start out with a thought in your head
of how great and perfect the journey will be like only to find that
maybe it's not what you expected. The beginning is not fully packed with
rewards and it seems there are outside voices around you constantly.
But, as you move through the journey, it begins to get better and, the
further you go, the more the outside noise slips away. You begin to hear
your own inner voice and become in tune with yourself. You become
present. At then end, you can look back on the journey and see how far
you've really come and, as a special prize, there's a baby.
I was just getting close to finishing up my picking, listening to a finch making a little "pip" next to me occasionally,
when I turned and looked at where I had started. Wow! I had made more
progress than I had thought and had a great bounty to show for it
(nearly 10 pounds!). It was then, that I got my prize. I pulled my head
out of some vines, straightened
up and, just as I was reaching forward to grab a few berries, saw them
right smack in front of me...babies! My finch friend had apparently been
waiting for me to move along so she could feed her nestful of four brand new baby birds! The afternoon really couldn't have ended any better.
took a few quick photos and grabbed my buckets to begin the walk back
to the car. As I got closer, the voices around me began to rise in
volume again and drown out the songs of the birds and the rumble of the
tractor. I got in the car and began driving home. Yes, raspberry picking
is a lot like pregnancy. A journey that is not without effort but a
journey that is sweet and full of wonderful surprises.