The Gift: A Handful of Purple Berries

The absurdities portrayed in the news sometimes puncture my spirit.  It’s not the current political debate because I understand that’s a free society essential.  Politicians historically take points to the absurd. But common sense usually lurks between the nonsensical ends—we pray.

Prayers aside, when preachers tag Oprah Winfrey as either the precursor or the real live anti-Christ because she speaks about compassion and does good works, I’m aghast.  When bishops tell their flocks to not donate to a breast cancer research operation because “they may” at some time, possibly, could implement stem cell research, both hands reach for my breast cancer healed left breast and grasp it in disbelief.  When leaders glorify the uber wealthy,  and what was formerly the middle class American becomes a scoundrel, I’m dismayed.

And that’s just within our borders.  Don’t get me started on the rest of the planet’s current events.

Today this wildly off-balance pendulum struck my personal life.  Oh, there was no catastrophic tragedy, just a realization that things aren’t like they were or how I want them.   Yes, I’m one of those former middle class Americans trying to find my way through the maze.  I feel like Jack in the Jack in The Box commercial who whines, “I am so tired of this recession.”

Then I received a gift.  An absolutely free gift—probably from some bird poop. Wild berry vines.  Four popped up in my garden last summer.  The gophers didn’t drag them into their subterranean casbah, the snails, raccoons and deer disdained the thorns and today I picked another handful of sweet, tangy, antioxidant rich wild berries.  There’s a ton more waiting to ripen.

Earlier this year my neighbor queried, “Are you gonna let those nasty brambles grow along the fence?”  Getting his drift I soothed, “Well if I get berries I’ll keep ‘em.  If not, they are gone.”

The first vine to flower and fruit is different—more like a boysenberry—or maybe one of Cambria’s famous olallieberries. A youngster of a vine, I’ve picked enough berries to sprinkle atop my morning cereal, or just for the snacking while pulling weeds.

Today’s find was a much-needed treat. I don’t know if it’s because I felt like a hamster fruitlessly running inside a wheel and the free gift of a handful of berries was an unexpected award for patience. Whatever the reason it gave joy.

And it brought to mind lyrics from an old Crosby, Stills and Nash song, “Say, can I have some of your purple berries; Yes, I’ve been eating them for six or seven weeks now; Haven’t got sick once; Probl’ly keep us both alive.  Wooden ships on the water, very free and easy; Easy, you know the way it’s supposed to be…”

And suddenly I stepped away from the insidious hamster wheel,  and felt like I was truly rich in all things that matter .I also took it as a sign to send off my manuscript, We Were The California Girls—Seeking the Sun, Sea and Spirit.  There were some purple finger prints on the title page, but as I addressed the package to the editor and friend who suggested the book, then sealed the box, I continued the CSN lyrics, “And it’s a fair wind; Blowin’ warm out of the south over my shoulder; Guess I’ll set a course and go.”

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