Some of the earliest memories I have of berry picking was searching for wild strawberries – racing ahead of dad when he went to mow the lawn, checking the plants growing through the yard for the very first juicy fruits of the year before they were run over.
There must be some deep-rooted emotional connection with those memories from childhood that keeps me anticipating the arrival of wild strawberry season, because they are far from easy berries to pick. The window of prime ripeness is narrow – wait too long and you’re left with fruits that mush together in your fingertips; even the largest of strawberries is by all accounts tiny and it is truly back-breaking work.
Still, I find myself meandering a bit slower on my morning walks, collecting a handful to enjoy as the sun breaks over the horizon. Savouring each handful, the appreciation for my granny and her strawberry picking skills grows greater each year. It is an impressive feat to put Pyrex measuring cups full of fruit on the table for her grandkids, who gobbled up the strawberries and cream in a matter of seconds. Even after that, there were always jars of jam and canned fruit tucked onto the pantry shelves. When I think about how long it takes me to gather even a cup of strawberries, I can’t fathom the patience she had to harvest so many for us to enjoy.
It’s a special thing to be able to go out in the field after all these years and have such fond recollections reminisced upon while outdoors. Sure, it is fun to get outdoors and explore, but to have memories both old and new woven together when doing the things you love is something I wish everyone gets to experience in their life.
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