Blueberry Picking


D and I started a class last week that goes once a week on an outdoor excursion to explore and learn about nature. This week we went to a blueberry farm to do some blueberry picking. I somehow have never been blueberry picking before, so I was excited to share this new experience with D.

Blueberry Farm

The farm was open only to our class, so we were able to freely roam without worrying about bothering anyone. We investigated a marsh for cattails, caught a grasshopper, played on a hill of dirt, and, of course, picked (and ate) blueberries. While D was preoccupied eating blueberries straight from the bushes, I took my time admiring the details while collecting blueberries.

My first thought was about how much blueberries resemble little plump flowers. I suppose this makes sense knowing that they start out as flower buds. There were insects out blueberry picking as well. I found a yellow jacket snacking on some blueberries and later found a yellow ladybug doing the same. Some of the bushes had bindweed growing on them, and I couldn’t help but notice how beautiful weeds can be. Their flowers looked like white megaphones trumpeting about the brilliance of nature.

Yellow jacket blueberriesBindweed

D joined back up with me eventually in time to catch sight of a hawk circling low over head. We then made another discovery together – part of a jawbone from some animal! It was just laying in the dirt at the base of a blueberry bush. The teacher suspects that it belonged to a deer. D was quite pleased with the discovery.

Jawbone

Blueberry picking was a fun experience. It’s always nice to visit a local farm and to appreciate the care and love that has gone into tending the crops. However, the best part of today was being D’s explorer sidekick. I always notice more about my surroundings when I try to see through his eyes.

Connecting With Nature

I have always felt a connection with nature. When I was child I spent my days outside – climbing trees, peeling the paper off of the paper birch trees, splashing in the creek that runs through the backyard. Living on a wetland there was never a shortage of creature sightings – blue herons, beavers, muskrats, ducks. My parents still reside in the same house that I grew up in, and it is a joy to watch my own son experience these marvels for himself. He has a natural love for nature and is in his element when he is within it. There’s always something to climb, jump off of, and explore. His sense of adventure knows no bounds.

Boy and his dog in nature

Recently I began to feel a little disconnected. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it until one day it came to me – I had lost that deep connection to nature that I once had. I knew this had to be remedied. I began a little ritual where I spend just 10-15 minutes out on the back porch first thing in the morning to meditate. I repeat this again mid-day or in the evening. We are lucky to have some beautiful vine maples, evergreens, and a pine tree right outside our back porch. Just watching as the sun slowly washes over their branches while it rises is nothing short of spiritual, and watching the sparrows flit about from branch to branch and listening to them talk is entrancing.

Today D and I walked through my parents’ property, which we have done many times before. But this time I slowed down and took the time to explore like D does. I noticed things that I wouldn’t have normally noticed – a tree resembling the shape of an elephant, small pears growing on an old tree, and the tiny clusters of pine cones from the red alder trees.

PearElephant tree

I even reconnected with my favorite tree from my childhood – a giant black cottonwood tree. This tree stands like a powerful guardian keeping watch over the land. I remember lying in the grass watching the leaves dance and shimmer like silver dollars. Even today this tree fills me with a feeling of awe. I felt compelled to wrap my arms around its trunk and literally give it a hug.

Black Cottonwood

Now that I feel like I have mended my relationship with nature, I want more than ever to help her in any way that I can. I’m on the lookout for volunteer opportunities and have pledged to be (even more) mindful about the choices I make that impact the Earth. By nurturing the planet we in turn are nurturing ourselves.

Tree hugger