Early summer is the time when I pass from the state of â€œgetting behindâ€ into the state of â€œbeing behind.â€ It is a time when there are a lot of beautiful things I might take joy in, but instead find myself wallowing in guilt or despair over unaccomplished goals. Nobody knows how to ruin a good summer like oneâ€™s own self.
My great point of irritation is my unplanted corn. It should have been planted two weeks ago, but one event led to another and it still isnâ€™t planted now. My laziness, or incompetent time management, is to blame somewhere. This case symbolizes all of my self-criticism where sources of grumbling and complaining are ever before me. It is easy to let this kind of attitude grow and consume oneself. Summer becomes one long litany of â€œI didnâ€™t get this done, and I didnâ€™t get that done,â€ all misery and complaining until it comes that one looks back on summer with deep dissatisfaction instead of happiness. Summer becomes one long whine of â€œI didnâ€™t get that doneâ€ and all enjoyment is lost.
This calls for a right perspective, something I have difficulty with. I have a schedule, and I want life to follow my schedule, and my nose gets bent out of shape when it doesnâ€™t. I didnâ€™t get my corn planted when I want to. I think Iâ€™ll throw a snit.
Sometimes we need to tell ourselves, â€œSo what?â€ Is that truly important? Should that really be consuming your thoughts and your emotions? What difference does it make if the corn is planted two weeks late? What difference does it make if the corn is not planted at all? Who said you must plant corn? Will the world end if you donâ€™t plant corn? And why should you even be in a bad mood and grumble and complain because the corn isnâ€™t planted? What is this saying about you?
Thus I am offically telling myself to shut up and shape up. All these things are fleeting and without importance. They do not deserve to have me dwell on them in displeasure. I am a fool to ruin all the good things I could be enjoying now by grumbling about the unimportant things that arenâ€™t going as I wish.
So, for some good things:
- Late in May we were hit with a hot dry spell. This worried me as I had visions of us scorching our way through summer. Any idea of a garden would be finished before it even began. But with June the hot weather broke and we recieved a good dousing of rain. The ground is now well saturated and the weather cool. The gardeners among us are happy.
- I am amazed by how green everything looks when the trees leaf out. After all winter it feels like I am a stranger seeing it for the first time again. My wonder is fresh again as I look at the picture of hills covered with green trees. We become deadened to it so quickly and forget the beauty of it like some common thing.
- The wild strawberries are in season. I knew in some distant way that it was time, but I first saw them when I went up the hill to do some chain-sawing on Monday. For me wild strawberries are like a memory of childhood. When I was a boy I could sit up in the field eating wild strawberries crawling from one place to another, always finding more. There could be a bunch of us up in the field, picking berries and hollering out to each other that there were lots at our spot and they were really good, everyone trying to find the best and the most berries. Sometimes we would try to band together and pick enough wild strawberries to actually make something with them. I think we might have managed, once or twice.
Sitting out under the wide blue sky and bright sun with the wild strawberries was like a picture of summer itself.
Wild strawberries are also a memory of childhood because they call back a time when there werenâ€™t the responsibilites and obligations of an adult. That was the time when one could spend an afternoon crawling about in the field picking tiny berries and eating them without a greater concern in the world. Now I hardly get a chance to taste more than a few before they are here and gone while I hustle about. But the call of childhood memories is still strong. As I walked up along the tree line I had to fight the urge to stop, put down the chain saw, take off my gloves, and start crawling about eating berries. Everywhere I went it seemed I saw more and more, making it hard to concentrate on the work.
Sometimes I think more people need to experience hunting wild strawberries. Sure, itâ€™s not great excitement. It isnâ€™t the rush and clamor of life that so many people are accustomed to. But it is good to stop on occasion and enjoy the quiet and the small hidden treasures in life.
This entry was originally published on June 14, 2006 at Rundy’s blog, Letters From a Silverware Thief. Only his entries related to gardening are republished here.