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Zen and the Art of Berry Picking

by Leah Morgan, CCAP

Anyone who has a garden, knows that July is the beginning of raspberry season, and the start of the blueberries. The joy of picking those fresh juicy berries off the vine was one of the initial reasons I dreamt of having a farm. I would fantasize dreamy days frolicking about picking berries in a cute straw sun hat and having zero real life problems. In my last house we had two bushes. I picked berries for about an hour every couple of days and life was good. I still had time to do all the other summery things, like go boating or go to the beach, or shave my legs. Fast forward to my new farm life....I have 100 raspberry bushes and 90 blueberry bushes. Very little beach time, and definitely no time for boating! I can’t bear to shave my legs because they are so covered with scratches from all those nasty berry bushes that the thought of putting a razor to them is excruciating. I am sporting my cute sun hat though, so that’s a bonus. And my very pasty legs are starting to get a pretty nice tan.

My idealistic fantasies about farm life have come crashing down pretty hard. We still don’t have a fridge, but I am no longer doing dishes in the bathtub, so that’s a major win. But I have to say, these damn berries are getting the better of me! Yesterday I did allow myself the entire day on the farm to do chores, and I did pick me some berries!

It took until about 4pm for my adrenals to finally settle down and I was deep in the berry patch getting scratched up to shit when I had what some might call a tiny epiphany. Instead of being completely overwhelmed with all the berries that needed picking, I just focused my attention on each one as I was picking it and didn’t look beyond that berry. I was present. It was then that I realized the real reason that I have been yearning for farm life is actually yearning for the opportunity to be present in my life. Picking berries, weeding, watering and sowing seeds are all quiet solitary work that allow the opportunity for peace within the mind if one allows the quietness to settle in.

I’m not going to lie and say that this is my new daily mind set because it 100% is NOT! Most of the time I am still completely overwhelmed, but if I am able to have a snippet of presence of mind every once in a while, amongst the thorns jabbing themselves into my legs then I consider that to be a pretty major win.

Yours always, in love, berries & aromatics

PS: The next time you are at the grocery store and complain about the price of a pint of raspberries, check yourself and your privilege. Those little juicy slices of heaven are labors of love and are worth every penny!

PPS: If you would like to make a tea to support inner peace using flowers that are blooming and in season, try harvesting some chamomile and lavender and infusing the herbs in water and steeping them for several hours in the summer sun.

Leah Morgan, CCAP

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