On Sunday mornings in deep summer, we stroll up MacArthur Road to the farm stand atop the hill. Our walk is canopied by lush green until we arrive under the bright expanse of sky–for the morning service.
Each parishioner, barefoot or sandaled in the grass, takes 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 on the hill.
I am not fit for company this morning, so I tuck a scone into my basket, and head 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 Mildred in Delaware–picking and packing and canning and freezing to last us through winter.
Today, it seems I can’t pick at all. My husband has slipped in beside me and works diligently at a single bush, while I bob from plant to plant, taking in the shades of blue and purple and black, in communion with Nana.
The dew on the berries lightens the impact of yesterday’s trauma: A diving accident. A cat scan. 16 stitches. Blood pouring down my son’s face as he emerges from the pond.
This morning he is reborn. Prancing down the stairs, dressed in white, claiming, “I might as well wear something nice since I can’t do anything to get dirty.”
At 16, his life is temporarily restricted by this injury; but at 47, I feel undone, not just by what happened but what could have happened.
As my husband fills a basket with berries for breakfast, I pluck, as our youngest once did–nibbling my way through the patch–letting the sweetness of the last day of July soften my spirit on this Sunday morning.