This summer we couldn’t make our annual trip to the berry patch. Our winter freezer will be empty of smoothie-ready berries, my February pies will be bereft of the raspberries that give them zing in the soft-apple and hard-pear winter months. But it is not the berries that I will miss most; it is the berry picking itself that will leave a hole in our summer.
The drive from city to fields, the sweet red-stained fingertips, the same yearly collection of baskets and bins and wide-mouth containers filled to the brim and balanced in the trunk, the happy satisfaction of picking one’s own food, all these form a gateway for us to summertime.
The berry patch is one of the first places I let the girls test freedom – no cars, no obstacles, no “be carefuls” – I watched their little sun-hated heads disappear in the rows and remembered my own time up fruit trees and afternoons spent happily lost to the search for the perfect berry. Which required plenty of tasting.
There are traditions and they are important – celebrations, high holidays, family gatherings – but the smaller rituals that anchor us to the seasons are in their own humbler ways the events against which we measure our lives.
We visit Westham Island for berries at Emma Lea Farms in the summertime and pumpkins at Westham Island Herb Farm in the fall. What do you do with your family to celebrate and connect to the turning of the seasons?"
The good people at NAOT sent me a new catalogue. I was preparing for a big trip and largely ignoring my own shopping needs because my own shopping needs seemed entirely secondary to emptying the fridge and getting the dog’s anal glands expressed. Would I consider blogging about some sandals? Shoes I already know and love and for which I would not have to go out and shop? OKAY.
I chose a pair of silver sandals, not quite sensible, that would nevertheless be practical for the daytime, and strappy enough to wear out with a dress in the evening:
At this point I thought I was going to tell you a pretty little story about how mothers need to kick up our heels sometimes, wear the shiny things that make us feel less dull, even while lost on an unfamiliar highway or schlepping wet sandy cranky children. But I am not going to tell you that story.
I am going to tell you instead what a nun once told me: Thank your feet. They carry you around all day.
No matter where I have been this summer, no matter how nerve-frazzled or how tired of wearing the same five things in my suitcase, my feet have been okay. In fact, I have not had to think for a moment about my feet, what I am going to put on them or when I could rest them, and though this is not a big thing, it is a very good thing.
If your feet have ever hurt, been blistered, swollen or toe-crumpled while away from home you know how that creeping irritation can seep into your mood, making coping that much more challenging. Mothers, away from home and dealing with creeping irritation rarely lie down at night without guilt.
The moment I slipped on those sandals, my feet breathed a little sigh of relief. There is no telling how the repercussions of that relief have subtly supported my days away, but I know from my very soles that a simple pair of shoes has indeed made a difference.
Thank you NAOT. Thank you feet.