Ripe Blueberries Wait for No One

By Marcia Miller

This morning I spent my morning meditation picking berries. The blueberries are ripe—well, at least some of them—and I wanted to eat them for breakfast. Growing and harvesting food is a slow process; much different from reaching out for a pint in the grocery store. First you dream your desires of what you want to be eating in a few years, and then find a place to buy the plants or a friend to give you some. Then the soil preparation begins and with blueberries extra work is required to keep them happy in the alkaline soils of Ohio. Lots of peat moss is one answer, but not just once. The plants like it every year or two to keep the soil tasting just right for them. Then rain and sun and probably moonlight are needed. We planted about 15 plants the first year, lovingly caring for them. The following June we had one blueberry! One. And believe me when I say it was delicious. Doubly delicious because when I offered to cut it in half to share with my new husband he gave me the whole thing to savor by myself. You can imagine the sweetness of that berry!

The next year we got a few more berries though some plants died and we had to replant. The deer chomped a few more and we made a fence. The birds got most of the rest and we covered the bushes with netting. This year we have a bumper crop and we will be harvesting for several weeks as we have varieties that mature at different times. This morning I heard their call—early. Or was it the call of my belly? I’m not sure. But never mind, I was out there at 6:15 knowing that the heat of the day and the insects would be rapidly upon me. I picked the way my friend Sonia picks berries--as a meditation on ripeness. The ripest berries fall off into my fingers at the slightest touch. And because they are fully ripe they have the best texture and flavor. The slightly less ripe berries require a bit more of a tug and I leave those behind for another day. This is a full body meditation including my heart and soul. The excitement I feel as each berry pops into my hand is experienced as tingling throughout my whole body. My breath is free and easy in the cool, early morning air and the mantra that keeps repeating in my heart is, “thank you, thank you, thank you.” I feel such amazement that these plants know how to grow such succulent blueness and that I am able to share in this bounty. I am filled with a holy gratitude that feels as freeing as any spiritual practice I have ever done. Thank you thank you thank you