I discover that most of my raspberries never make it to my bowl. A collection of creatures–rabbits, chipmunks, birds, and probably a deer munching from over the fence–regularly consume every single berry the minute they ripen.
Mostly, it’s the rabbits. They have burrowed under our fence. Those rabbits with that adorable puff of a tail have trampled the berry patch and stolen every berry.
I admit I haven’t tended the berries well. With all our travel and all the rain that kept us away from the garden, I never secured a perimeter, warded off small creatures with predator scent, or protected the berries with netting.
Most years, I tend.
This summer, I left so much untended.
Sometimes, you just let things go. You’re tired. You couldn’t tend everything.
In a way, it’s good to know I’m feeding animals I suppose. And I do love the birds that love my berries. Perhaps my not tending the garden has encouraged the very nests I’ve so enjoyed.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the garden, something succeeds with little tending. My tomatoes glisten in the morning sun as they grow protected in their cage within the little chicken wire reinforced fence.
When they ripen, I’ll oven-dry these for the most delicious dried tomatoes to add to sauces, pizza, and sandwiches all winter. The tomatoes make the cut of what fits into my capacity.
But that’s it. When you direct your energy in one place, you lose everything else you had once planted with such resolve. But this is life: you endure the loss of what you couldn’t manage this time, forgive yourself, and understand your limits.
But what’s this? You find this unexpected joy in watching the happy, fat rabbits all summer long. You want to reach out and squeeze that little puffy tail or pat that twitching nose. You even encourage their journey right over to your raspberry patch.
You stand as still as you can. You hardly breathe as they hop around you.
You realize that even in your failures, God brings a gift.