On Sundays, my husband and I stroll up the dirt road to the farm stand on MacArthur. Our walk is canopied by the lush growth of summer, until we arrive under a bright expanse of sky which has become our Sunday morning chapel.
Each “parishioner,” barefoot in the grass, takes her communion from the tray beside the coffee pot–a golden scone filled with juicy goodness. Today’s choice is raspberry or blueberry; the latter having just ripened upon the hill in Marlboro.
I am not fit for company, so I tuck a scone into my basket, and head out into the field under the netting where the berries grow.
I cannot pluck a single berry without slipping into the past–falling in beside my great-grandmother in Rehoboth, Delaware–picking and packing and canning and freezing summer’s bounty to kiss us all winter long.
Today, it seems I can’t pick at all. Though my husband works diligently at one bush, I bob from plant to plant, taking in the shades of blue and purple and black, in communion with Nana.
The dew on each berry lightens the impact of yesterday’s trauma: A diving accident. A cat scan. 16 stitches. The blood pouring down my son’s face as he emerged from the pond.
Lloyd is reborn today. Prancing down the stairs in his Sunday finest, claiming, “I might as well wear something nice since I can’t do anything to get them dirty.”
At 16, his life is temporarily restricted by this injury; but at 47, I feel undone by what “might” have happened, and shaken to the roots by what did.
As my husband fills a basket with berries for breakfast, I pick as our youngest does–nibbling my way through the patch, letting the sweetness of life’s offering soften my spirit on this Sunday morning in Vermont.
Kelly Salasin, Last Day of July, 2011