Ever since I was a young girl, I found more peace and solace in being outside in nature than in any official church setting.
There was something comforting about feeling the sun on my face, hearing the babbling of the brook beside the trail, or watching the birds dancing in the air. I felt a part of this natural existence and could feel my heavy heart lighten and my breathing become deeper and steadier.
Now as an adult, I have chosen to take this one step further in my status as blueberry farmer and wildlife hostess. For it appears that these blueberries are not just for me and my customers.
Since there are many other creatures with whom to share my crop, I’ve devised a list of rules on getting along with them:
Rule number one: You are connected, you are part of a continuum, you are not a single entity and there is abundance enough to share.
That is what I tell myself as I find the blue scat among the blueberry bushes. In the early mornings, I often come across the doe and her fawn having breakfast in the blueberry patch. In the evenings, they carefully cross in front of my watchful eye, trying not to entice the dog to chase them as their hunger pangs steer them back to the blueberries.
Once I saw three young deer saunter into the blueberry patch just as I was getting ready to walk outside with the dog. So before I let her out, I went outside and whistled. All three deer came out of the patch, stood in a row, looking at me with their ears perked as if to say, ‘What? Can’t you see we’re eating?’ I explained to them that the dog and I were on our way outside, so they had better leave.
And so they did. Though they probably came back later for a midnight snack. Well, everyone tells me these are the best blueberries they have ever eaten. Wonder if I can use the deer as testimonials?
Rule number two: The Universe/Mother Nature has her own rhythm, her own timeline. Yours doesn’t count.
Ah, yes. It would have been perfect for me if the rain had waited until tomorrow, so I could have mowed today. But the soil was thirsty and needed moisture. My buyers are asking me when they can expect to receive their first order of blueberries. And my reply is always, “When the berries are ready, I’ll let you know.” Could be tomorrow, could be next week.
I have to wait until they are good and ready to ripen enough for picking. It is a humbling experience, really. And so I go and walk the rows and wait until the time is ripe for them. The combination of rain, sun, humidity, heat and nature’s rhythm all play a factor. My timeline is not a part of that list.
But the natural rhythm is useful in planting, as many of the old-timers will tell you. You plant root crops when the moon is waning and top crops when the moon is waxing. Follow the cycle of the moon and see how much better your crops will thrive.
Rule number three: What you put out, you receive back ten-fold.
I truly believe that the reasons my berries are so lush and so sweet is because I tell them every day how beautiful they are. Is this their way of blushing? I don’t know.
All I know is that whenever I feel I need a hug, I just walk in that blueberry field and I can feel the love coming from them to me. I also ask my pickers to thank the bushes for the berries that they pick.
I do that with anything that I harvest, be it flowers, herbs, vegetables. A lot of plant energy went into producing what I harvest and I always give gratitude. Sounds crazy, but perhaps a little too much sun can do that to a person.
A friend who works with the fairy realm told me that fairies like jelly beans. And so, in this season of severe thunderstorms, possible hail and heavy winds, I put out jelly beans for the fairies. And not just any jelly beans…Jelly Belly© beans. Especially after there is hail damage all around me and I have had none. Thank you, dear fairies, for keeping the crop safe. I can’t see you, but I can feel you and I know exactly where to put the jelly beans. It is that place in the woods that feels so very magical to me.
Rule number four: There is music everywhere.
I hear it in the songs of the birds, the rustling of the leaves, in the beat of the rain as it falls on the roof. And I see the trees dancing to the rhythm of the breeze. I love watching the tall poplar’s leaves dance when the breeze begins to blow. And to what song are the hummingbirds dancing as they fly to and from the feeders, the flowers?
The toads croak at night and the fireflies blink in accompaniment. And have you ever heard the whir of a crow’s wings as it flies so close overhead? Stop for a moment and listen.
Can you hear the music, too?
We are a part of all of this, though we are not master over it. But knowing that this beauty around me extends to and includes me fills me with joy. And so, I may not accomplish what I plan every day, but I have learned to listen, to feel, to wait until Mother Nature says it is time.
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Editor: Renée Picard
Image: Jill Carlson at Flickr