Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Letters From The Barn: Walking During Blackberry Season

Letters From The Barn: Walking During Blackberry Season

It's blackberry season. I was out walking the dogs and found two patches of wild berries. On the first bush, quite a few were still held tightly in the palm of the plant. There were a few that were ripe and plump, though, and I argued with the birds for those. The next patch I came across was full from the rain from the night before and ready to go.

My next stop was a store where I could rumble through the contents, looking for treasure or bargains. I came across Five Stories by Chekhov as well as Aristotle's Poetics both for just a dime. When I went to go pay my whopping 20 cent bill, my berry picking told on me. It looked like an ink pen had exploded in my hand.

The lady at the counter shared that she had just finished with blueberries a while back and still felt she was picking out the blue from underneath her fingernails. I used to have a lot of cactus on my land and would make jam from their reddish purple berries called tunas. Once you get past the prickles and the peeling and the seeds and the draining, you've got quite a nice dish. Very wild and flavorful. And the color is like no other.

And, so is the stain. I went to work more than once with cactus jam telling on the palms of my hands. It's funny how our lives do that. Show up where we least expect it. Do you have calluses? How many and where? What parts of your body are smooth and rested, which parts hearty and perhaps over used?

Do your feet ache or do they sleep quietly? Do you wake up in the morning and stretch to loosen up arthritis or jump right into the day? Do singing and dancing help loosen up your morning joints or do you edge into it grumpily with a strict no smiles before coffee, please edict?

Does your body move easily through the day? Has it ever? Do you name your aches and pains, offer them aspirins or something stronger on their bad days? Do they court you more strongly during rainy weather or during cold spells? Does a good wood fire quiet them down, warming up your bones quite like nothing else?

Do you know your body? It's frailties and strengths? Can you be proud of what it can do and sympathetic with its vulnerabilities? Can you pragmatically asses how to change your motions or timing of activities so that each day you can stretch with the sun and enjoy your body's strengths? I hope you can. It's a glorious day out. Or, it will be soon if the rain clouds are out right now where you are. Then again, maybe taking a walk in a light rain is your favorite thing to do. I hope so. The rain does like a little bit of company, you know. Most folks favor the sun.


Author: Meriwether O' Connor