Yesterday Phil and I celebrated our ninth anniversary. Neither of us can believe that it has been that long since we joined hands in Hill Village Bible Church and vowed to one another. We had a nice, busy day topped off with a quiet family dinner.
After dinner I had the privilege of going for a walk and picking strawberries. It seemed appropriate, as the sun started to set on the longest day of the year, to be kneeling and searching for tiny red jewels scattered through the jungle of pasture grass. Down at that level the scent of green grass, with the elusive odor of ripe strawberry wafting occasionally, and the spicy tang of DEET overlaying it all, I feel closer to the earth than I have in a while. I pondered that God made strawberries as an aid to prayer, because you kneel to pick them and they are enough to inspire the most grateful praise. Ripe, sun-warmed berries are a treat fit to entertain angels with.
Every year, even if I have no time to pick enough to put by, I give the first berries to someone else. I don't know when I started this, but now it is my little tradition, to share my favorite things. This year the first three strawberries went into three little girl mouths, and the first blueberry (off the early bush we planted) went to Phil. He would never have any interest in picking berries, but he enjoys the fruits of our labor. Glady has joined me in my hunt for them this year - the first year one of the girls has been willing to bring some home and not just eat them. In a year or two they will have taken over completely, for I have no time to spend hours or even days of my summer picking berries. In historical readings, it is pretty clear that the mother was at home, keeping the house, while the maidens picked the berries.
But for a few stolen moments I gathered living rubies, and was very happy.