Early most mornings, I go out into my garden to harvest raspberries. The wind still holds a chill from the night, the bees are waking up, and plants still drip from their sprinkler shower.
As the sun creeps higher in the sky, the only sounds are birdsong, buzzing insects, and the fluttering branches that shadow the raspberry patch. I hum to myself to join the chorus. Monarch butterflies flirt in the sky.
With water droplets running down my legs into my boots and the breeze making a valiant effort to unwind my hair from its bindings, I think about how a year ago this month, every part of my life right now was a distant dream. It was hard to imagine where I am today, but I’m here.
Life circumstances are often like raspberry picking. You have to come at it from all sorts of angles and perspectives to reap the most reward or benefit. Lifting branches, peering through crisscrossed canes, ignoring the threat of stingers and thorns and creepy crawlies to reach the bounty of fruit.
If you simply glance overtop the bows and pick from what you can see right at hand, you’ll walk away with maybe a handful. But when you take the time to lift and search, you become more accustomed to where the prizes will be over time, training yourself to look beyond the surface.
We will always find what we’re looking for. If we look for reasons to be angry, or sad, or lonely, we will find them. If we look for reasons to be joyful, or grateful, or fulfilled, we will find those, too. All of this begs the question: What are we training ourselves to look for?
I know what I would like to find when looking at my life and lifting metaphorical raspberry canes, but what is actually there as of today? A little good, a little bad, a little this, a little that.
It’s an ongoing process. One that gifts me lessons where I least expect them. One that I don’t always win—but one that I know will lead to a more bountiful existence.
What is an ache but lingering proof of life
What is a sigh but a reminder to breathe more deeply
What are dreams besides tiny prophecies
What is grief but love with nowhere to go
What is a raspberry patch besides sanctuary
And what is a blue sky without clouds
I know what I’m looking for. What about you?