Gratitude * Sunday
Sunday’s heartfelt tradition.
A time to slow down,
to be grateful.
A list of gratitudes.
Our gratefulness feeds one another.
Quoted from Taryn Wilson
Joining the Gratitude Sunday Tradition at Wooly Moss Roots.
in warm soil, redden with sun,
sweetening in rain.
Tonight I welcome the first full moon after the summer solstice while watching Oregon’s June drizzle outside my window this morning. I love Oregon weather. These late June days remind me of the days of my youth when tweens and teenagers were allowed and encouraged to spend the months of June, July, and August picking strawberries, raspberries, and beans in the green belt of farm fields around Clackamas and Washington counties.
We had to get up before dawn, earlier than for school even. Mom made us lunches to take with us, sandwiches and fruit, which often didn’t make it past the bus ride to the farm. An old school bus picked us up at the corner, and after rambling through several neighborhoods and filling the bus to capacity, hauled us out to a rural field with strawberry plants as far as the eye could see. Arriving about 6:00 AM, the sun would be fully visible by the time we were unloading off the bus. No porta-potties were in sight but there was a pungent smelling communal out-house available at, of course, the far end of the field, which many of us had to pitstop at before beginning work.
Most of us knew the drill; you grabbed a wooden flat full of cardboard hallocks and claimed a row. Newbies quickly learned to pick the flattest rows and not the rows on the hillier part of the farm. You picked as fast as you could, because the more hallocks and full flats you filled the more money you earned. Days when kids goofed off, throwing berries, boys smashing berries in girls’s hair, and teasing and laughing too much, were low income days.
Our group was always called to a stop at 12:00 PM, when we got paid a discounted price for whatever partial fill you had on a flat, and were shipped home on the rickety old bus, whose top speed was 37 miles per hour on the freeway and 23 going uphill (talk about a traffic hazard!), which couldn’t get us home fast enough to enjoy the rest of the summer day. I don’t remember seeing people of color working beside us in the field though there must have been. Now, I know berries are at their peak flavor when picked in the morning. There had to have been other workers because our little bus-fulls of kids could not have picked the fields clean. But then our little neighborhood groups were pretty self-absorbed, you know boys and girls of the same age group who’d grown up together, coming of age, thrown together outside of school and away from parents, that kind of exciting stuff.
We made some pretty good pocket change sometimes spent at the local store on the bus route, buying soda pop and candy, which justified getting off the bus early and an extra walk home. We learned the discipline of not sleeping in just because it’s summer, that real people don’t have summers “off” (no, not even teachers, they have other obligations), we had the satisfaction of doing real and physical work that benefited somebody else (the farmer and his customers, not to mention all the berries we ate), and earned money for our pockets. I promptly spent mine and am still working on the lesson of money management and delayed gratification. My younger brother, an Eagle Scout, who obviously had earned the Personal Management Merit Badge and took the lessons to heart, always had a stockpile socked away at the end of picking season, which he’d often use to treat the whole family, not just himself. I could have taken a lesson from him. Either way we learned a work ethic.
Progress is not always better. I am sad our tweens and teens are missing a great opportunity in today’s culture to learn work ethics and the value of producing real food. Somehow many American youth seem to be “above” working in a farmer’s field and helping produce their own food. Real food doesn’t produce itself, scavenging the wild produces small yields, and it will be a sore lesson when they realize there is no longer any real food being produced in this world. I’m totally not being and not going into the racist accusation here, but it’s one hell of an opportunity for people of color, since it looks like a forced situation (kids won’t work or are legislated against the opportunity, adult people of all colors are happy to take the opportunity to do a variety of work). They could create great wealth in their families producing real food to feed up-ified Americans. Heck, I can barely garden anymore. I’ll happily pay a conscientious farmer or home gardener of any color for quality organic lovingly home-grown, hand harvested food.
Flower Watch – blooming attractions in my neighborhoods this week – Shasta daisies; gerbera daisies; star jasmine; thistles; dandelions, of course; white star-shaped blackberry flowers; roses and lilies of many colors are still on; a few random rhododendrons and azaleas are still blooming; hydrangeas ranging from creamy white through light and dark pinks, and clear into the blues and purples, interestingly the color being a matter of soil chemistry; and so many tiny wild weeds I don’t know the names of.
Currently Reading – He’s a Stud, She’s a Slut and 49 Other Double Standards Every Woman Should Know (humorous feminist politics) by Jessica Valenti; Gut and Psychology Syndrome (healing science) by Natasha Campbell-McBride; Paradise Lot (experimental gardening) by Eric Toensmeier; Pines (a thriller novel) by Blake Crouch. Yes, concurrently.
This week I have been grateful for:
Namaste. Peace. Blessings.