Strawberries

29 07 2009

I will never look at a strawberry the same way again.

It was over 100 degrees when I drove up to the farm this afternoon. I could see the tractor pulling a wagon full of cranky children toward the river where they would go swimming. The farm has a secret – a beautiful, hidden, sandy beach along the Snoqualmie River. The same river that floods in the winter, that brings water to irrigate the fields. In the summer, the river is calm and wide, the water so clear you can see your toes on the sandy bottom. Even in July, the water is cold and it smells like snow.

I sat in my car for a few more minutes, enjoying the air conditioning. I watched several cyclists fly by, presumably training for something like the Ironman in Kona. Why else would you subject yourself to a ride in that weather?

As I stepped outside, the sweet smell of grass and flowers and sunshine surrounded me. Particles of dust floated in the air, motionless in the still heat. I gathered my shopping bags and went into the barn. Children were sitting on the porch laughing as popsicles dripped on their clothes. The barn smelled of hay and honey. I began to pick out our produce for the week: lettuce, salad greens, spinach and rainbow chard. Two pints of heirloom tomatoes and peppers. Summer squash, cabbage, beets, broccoli, cauliflower. Plums.

After I loaded the bags of food into my car, I headed out into the fields to pick strawberries, green beans, cilantro and more plums.

I have spent most of my life living more or less in the city. I have spent some time gardening and visiting farms. But I have never before considered what a miracle the farm is. I am astonished how, from week to week, plants double or triple in size. How strawberries and green beans and snap peas appear as if from nowhere. How the rows of corn that were barely peeking out of the ground in June are now taller than my sons.

I stood there in the fields of strawberries, the hot sun on my back. Hidden in the shade of the plants, I see flecks of ruby and crimson: strawberries. To find the best berries, you must squat down and look under the broad green leaves. Connecting to my inner migrant worker, I crouch down and search for the ripe, luscious fruit.

Four pints later, I am lost, dreaming of strawberry-ness: Strawberry shortcake. Strawberry cheesecake. Strawberries in spinach salad with red onions, blue cheese, and spiced walnuts.  Strawberry jam on homemade bread. Grilled salmon with a balsamic vinegar and strawberry sauce. Strawberry tarts and pies and ice cream.

But nothing compares to the simple goodness of a strawberry, warmed by the sun.

God didn’t have to do this. He didn’t have to make strawberries red. Or delicious. He didn’t have to make the sky blue or the sun warm. He didn’t have to give us air to breathe or water to drink. He didn’t have to give us eyes to see or lips to taste the goodness of his creation.

But he did.

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2 responses

31 07 2009
kelly

this is a great piece of writing. really enjoyed it. and would have loved to have done the same!

31 07 2009
Amber Weiseth

I love getting your comments but I would love even more getting together some day. Our community group did dinner for us the first 2 weeks. It was amazing! I know you must be super busy but I couldn’t say no to dinner and some good adoption conversation. Andrew and I are home together every Wednesday and Sunday. What is your schedule like?

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