Over the next few weeks, I plan to share a series of letters written to a writer. Or perhaps more accurately, written to anyone following their calling. Which is all of us. When this letter finds you, know it's for you. My prayer is that it encourages and inspires you, and reminds you that the work you are doing is good and holy.
Today I went blueberry picking and came home with over 2 gallons of berries. But I’m getting ahead of myself because I almost didn’t make it to the field. A half an hour before I was planning to leave, the winds picked up, the clouds darkened, and the rains let loose. From my front porch, coffee in hand, I watched the water transform into puddles and knock sticks from the trees. I could see the slanting of rain drops cascading in front of me. Some things don’t go as planned, I thought as I lifted my mug to take a sip of coffee. Rather than pick berries, I sat and breathed in the scent of rain.
Eventually the storm passed. I pulled on my boots, filled my water bottle, and drove to the field. “It’s a good thing you’re wearing boots,” the owners tell me. “We’ve got lots of water between here and the fields. And we lost quite a few berries in the downpour, but there’s plenty out there for you. Just follow the arrows.”
Bucket in hand I walked to the field. Gator tracks were filled with water and with each step the water sloshed between my feet and the earth. I could hear the birds singing their songs, I imagined them searching for worms.
I picked a row of bushes and saw the plants filled with blueberries. For the moment, everything I needed was in front of me. I remembered Sal and dropped a blueberry in the bucket waiting to hear a kerplunk. Then I grabbed a handful and popped fresh-picked berries in my mouth.
Kneeling on the wet earth, the water soaking my pants, I turned a leaf over to find a bunch of ripe berries; hidden in plain sight. Berry after berry piled into my bucket. My task for the hour only to gather what was right in front of me.
When my back was as stiff as I could handle and with buckets overflowing, I walked back to my car thinking of blueberry crisp and other creations waiting to be made.
Once home I washed some berries to eat immediately and froze the rest. I mixed fresh berries and a crisp topping before placing it in the oven to bake, the aroma filling the kitchen. It was then time to write you this letter which was meant to encourage you in your writing, to remind you to keep at it, to keep doing the work. I know that sometimes our plans change or something happens to keep us from doing that one thing we want to do, but ultimately, everything we do shapes and molds us.
In this note, I hoped to share my joy in the writing life, but somehow, I could only tell you about blueberries. And how fleeting of a season they have, and how some blueberry seasons don’t produce anything due to weather, frost, or bugs. But I guess that’s what makes them so delicious. Yet, I know the blueberry farmers personally and I know that they’ll keep planting more bushes and researching ways to cultivate their crop. They’ll get up early and work in the heat of the day. They’ll get dirty and discouraged, but they won’t give up.
They’ll be back in the fields next year, and so will I.
I hope you’ll continue to join me.
With gratitude for you and your calling,