A Dark, Sweet Pleasure

As Seamus Heaney wrote in his poem, “Blackberry Picking,” the red berries finally “inked up and that hunger / sent us out” to harvest.

It’s all poetry in my yard today:

Ripe Blackberries

The blackberries bring a joy I can’t name.  I don’t need anything else but those warm berries in my hand.  They deliver a dark, sweet pleasure. 

It’s a daily provision–just a handful of fruit–each morning. 

We turn to the overgrown, unattended vegetable garden, and I send the girls within the tangled vines like jungle explorers.

The oldest sends up the offering. 

Another handful–just enough–for lunch.  I’d been thinking of the beauty of the Lord’s prayer:  Give us this day our daily bread.  There’s just enough today.  We don’t store or fret over this.   We just open our hands and are filled with what we need for today. 

Journal:  Hold your palm open and ask God to fill it with what you need today. 


Returning to a Garden

Arriving home, we immediately check on the blackberries.  Deep black berries burst on the vine; we gobble them up and leave the red ones to ripen.  We’re home! 

Blackberries Ripening

Our minivan’s contents now spill across the living room, and everyone feels out-of-sorts (especially the mother).  I leave everything and run barefoot to the vegetable garden. 

Neck Deep in Tomatoes

With the exhaustion and disorder of arriving home after a summer of travel, I find myself returning to the garden.  It’s overgrown with weeds, and nothing stayed quite in place.  But I’m out here, neck deep in green tomatoes. 

Something about growing things, something about the smell of the earth, the berries, and the vegetables reassures me.  We’ll settle in, find order and rhythm, and harvest the fruit of a long, hot summer. 

Journal:  What’s so good about coming home?