I have had something of a rough week. I am not complaining, only commenting. I pride myself on not complaining about these things, and I was under the impression that I was coping fairly well, that is, until my wife took the spoon away from me in the middle of feeding my youngest child and told me to go pick strawberries.
Now, to clarify her reasoning, I should explain that picking strawberries is something like therapy for me. It is not that I like to eat strawberries so much, though I do like a few now and again. It is more what strawberries represent to me. They are the first fresh produce of the year, the first food that I can pick and eat from my garden after a whole winter of barrenness and a whole spring of growth. They are also the first preserves of the year, the first jams and sauces, the first canning. They mean the beginning of a whole summer and a whole autumn of harvesting, eating, cooking, preparing, and preserving.
So, I spent an hour picking strawberries, in the wetness left by this afternoon’s rain, and I realized exactly how stressed I had been at exactly the same moment as I realized how much less stressed I was rapidly becoming, and I ate a few, and I picked several baskets full, and my fingers were stained red, and I smelled summer.