Showing up to work, I’m always struck by the beauty of my berry patch. I love the green grass carpet of the aisles, the structure of brambles resting on trellises, tall vase shaped elderberry bushes, and the surrounding trees that dapple the south of the field with shadows. This is my workplace. This is where I toil with weeds and soil and ripening fruit, alongside the bees and ants and birds.
Each season brings its own challenges and pleasures. In the winter I dream of the summer to come, even as I forget what it’s like to be surrounded by green. Spring reveals the wreckage of the long winter; as I snip out the dead wood, I worry about the plants resilience and about the daunting amount of weeding that has to get done. Then the rhubarb comes, the humble beginnings of the harvest season. Berries form, and as the weeks pass the anticipation grows until finally whew! We have raspberries!
I was talking to another farmer at the market about working in the fields. She says she can harvest faster than anyone else at her farm. Her hands reach out, cut, and gather without thought – automatic, while her mind travels miles and miles. I think of this as a kind of meditation. My best work is done when my body, attuned the landscape and its needs, works almost automatically, and my mind reaches outward. Yesterday as the midsummer sun beat down on me I felt my mind begin to travel. In a moment I appreciated the familiar, physical, and spiritual of this season. This is communion at Bramble and Berry Farm.