Thursday morning while we were picking chard in the greenhouse for a farm stand order Mary got the call that we were in the clear to pick blueberries. We nearly dropped everything we were doing and shot down the road. As each day reveals new knowledge and new beauty, the blueberry patch had me amazed once again. Mary told me there are around 5000 bushes in the field. I will guess there were 18-25 rows. Each row is half a mile long. I can’t explain that, you just have to see it.
You can’t see one end of a row from the other. Let me clarify, there is nothing inherently good about this field because it is large. I say this because often we can be impressed simply by how big something is, or how expensive or rare. I am not telling about the expanse of this place for the sake of impressing you. Rather, the space this field occupies is special because of where it takes me when I enter. I get lost. You would get lost too.
Joyfully I set out at the end of my row with a bucket looped through my belt. Bush by bush I walk down my side and pluck of berries that are ready to eat. Some of them I do eat. Most of them I toss in the bucket. At first, as with most new tasks for me, the method is clumsy and I second guess myself. I start slow; my hands and eyes not yet trained to the task. Soon, before I even realize there has been a change, I feel locked into the rhythm of my work. My eyes stop seeing berries that aren’t ready and my hands pick more precisely. I am not saying I became an overnight expert, but I became nearly hypnotized by the process. I looked up after 30 minutes and I was in the middle of what felt to be an endless field of blueberry bushes.
This is how the size is important. There is great peace in being surrounded on all sides by such health as fruit bushes in the summertime. There is humility in recognizing you are in a place where mankind only holds so much power. As I have written before, the heat came early this year, and as a result many plants started budding before the frosts were completely finished. The blueberries suffered somewhat. Over the winter the bushes were pruned and cared for. The soil was maintained and the false bushes and weeds were removed. Yet still nature holds within its hand the whole fate of this field. In the pictures you can see a dip in the middle of the rows. As we came to this dip the berries disappeared. Here, we suspect, the weather was just slightly colder than it was on the sides of the rows. The difference meant some bushes would yield and others would not. It is a powerful force to recognize, the force that holds these living things together.