For the last few weeks, I’ve started each morning with watering, then raspberry picking meditation. In the winter, I want to go to my cushion, ease into the day as the heat from the wood stove warms the house. But in the summer, the sooner I can get outside, the better I feel. We’ve been blessed by a string of sunny days here in the Pacific Northwest—with temperatures edging up to the 80s—and so the garden needs regular watering. When I headed out the door this morning, fog still hung in the cedars. But by the time I finished watering, it was lifting, and the sun shone warm on my arms as I stripped off one layer, then another.
I must confess we have a laisse faire attitude toward our raspberries—we water them erratically and don’t weed much—but that doesn’t stop them from producing a steady crop of thimble-sized berries each morning. I move down the rows, tugging gently to see which are ripe, amazed at how many come off their stems, filling the bowl even though I’d picked just the day before.
As I do, I remind myself to be in the moment with each plump, juicy raspberry. As soon as my mind starts to wander, I pull too hard, picking one that’s not quite ready. I try not to dwell on the berries that shriveled while I was in Alaska, despite our invitation to the house-sitters to pick them. As soon as I begin to rush, I don’t see the berries hiding below the leaves. It’s only when I slow down, crouch down, that I see more scarlet berries hanging, ripe and juicy, ready for eating.
This reminds me of a story my husband tells of picking raspberries with his niece Isolde when she was just 4 or 5. Of course, he was standing up to pick the berries, had just concluded that they’d picked them all, when she reached up to hand him her own small bowl, full to the brim. From her much lower vantage point, she was able to see all the berries he’d missed.
When I stop finding berries, I crouch down to see if I might see a few more—and there they are. Sometimes this slight shift in perspective is all it takes for our writing, too. When you stop seeing the words on the page—try approaching them from a different point of view. Sometimes a new perspective is all that’s needed.
Consider how you might make such a shift, either in the way you view your life or in your writing. Write about it, recreating the scene both before and after the shift, showing us the hidden berries you discover. May the fruit of our lives ripen into an abundant harvest in the days ahead and may we learn to shift our perspective when needed so we can see each berry…
Yours, crouching in the raspberries,