Yesterday, we shrugged off the shroud of mist and went strawberry picking. I have been out in the strawberry fields since the age of six months, but I have never been out in the fields in my winter boots. (Granted, these are my beloved Bogs, which I brag are my three-season boots because I wear them comfortably from leaf season into snow into mud; they just got promoted to four-season!)
A wise friend of mine (who may have come by some of her wisdom in a twelve-step program) once told me that if you don't feel the feelings you want to feel, act as if you do and then you might. She swore it worked in regard to her mother-in-law. What we want to feel is the feeling of summertime: The sense of blue sky and possibilities stretching to the horizon, the sound of the lake lapping at our toes, the smell of the tomato plants in the sun. So how to get that feeling when we have seen the sun maybe a total of ten hours since the solstice? Hmmm.
We do not grow our own strawberries because if we did, we would not have a reason to drive out to our favorite farm on earth. Dole's Orchard is a yellow farmhouse and acres of apple and cherry and plum trees and a dog named Vosker and strawberry fields that run forever
and blueberry bushes and raspberry brambles and three-generations of a family of people we hold dear. It all sits on a hill, and the sky bends all the way over it and touches the mountains in the distance.
The four of us joined other pickers in the field. We filled up the new strawberry flats Grandpa Hickory made us (and it was his birthday too). The strawberries were bountiful and beautiful and tasted like summer. When I bit into the first one, the perfume burst into my mouth and I thought, "It tastes like a rose," and there it was...summer in one bite.
Later, at home, we stemmed the berries with spoons and laughed together. It was dark outside and with Madeleine Peyroux singing on the stereo, we couldn't hear the rain. The house filled up with the aroma of strawberry jam and the feeling of summer.