Saturday, July 11, 2009

Berry Picking: the Window to Joy

We spent Saturday afternoon at our old favorite, Lull Farm, in Hollis, NH, picking our own blueberries and raspberries, and thanking our lucky stars that the rain finally stopped in time to keep the berries from moldering on the bush.
A memory came to my mind as we picked, one from five or six summers back when Todd and I went exploring one afternoon out in the countryside near Sebago Lake in Maine.  On a back road we found an old farmhouse, its white paint peeling and front porch sagging.  It was perched on top of a hill with a hand painted sign out front that said RASPBERRIES.   Well, we are suckers for handmade signs and fresh fruit both, so we pulled around to the back of the house, parked, and walked down a muddy path, following a painted arrow that pointed to a tumble-down shed.  Inside were two girls at a small card table with a cigar box of money.  We paid them a few bucks, they handed us a couple of green quart containers, and then they directed us toward another path that led a bit farther up the hill from the shed.   
The sun was beaming, but it wasn't a hot day--maybe seventy-five degrees and dry.  As we made our way through the tall raspberry bushes, we heard a few other people picking and chatting quietly.  Other than their voices, the only sounds were bees and a light breeze through the trees that bordered the raspberry patch.  The bushes were loaded with deep red berries, so perfectly ripe that they almost fell into our hands.  As we picked (and ate) our share, I thought, "Life doesn't get better than this."
 Just at that moment, someone--we never knew who--opened one of the farmhouse windows, and the strains of "Ode to Joy" poured from the window out over the field.  It turned out that life could get even better than what I'd imagined.  It was one of the best hours of my life, finding that farmhouse and that berry patch, but the best thing about that hour is that I've carried it with me ever since.  Many hours of my life in the last few years have been much less than perfect, but there was always this memory to go back to when I needed it.    
No one played "Ode to Joy" when we picked berries this weekend, but the sun was shining again, a breeze was blowing, and the berries and each other's company were, as you can see, all the joy we needed.
What is one of your happiest moments?  What made it so?


  1. What a totally magical moment in time, one obviously you will never forget! Sounds utterly delightful.

    Love your photo's ... very cute!!xx

  2. That last photo is just utterly fantastic.

    And yum.

    J's grandparents live in Hollis! We try to get up there for a visit once or twice a year.

    I'll have to ruminate on the joyful moment question...

  3. I'm still on a high after reading your lovely day and beautiful memory of a past perfect day.
    Love the photos!

    One of my very happiest moments...the day I introduced my little Gaia to my mother. She was just 2 days old, and my mom arrived to SF from GA. Placing my little baby girl into the arms of my sweet mama, who gave me her everything, was one of the greatest days of my life. At that moment, I realized exactly how strong and special a love is between mother and daughter.

  4. Scumptious photos...and scrummy berries, Gigi! We've been picking berries too...our two bushes are now yielding nice, big handfuls of fruit--great for over morning yogurt or ice cream...mmm... Happiest moment... Oh, there are so many! My wedding day was very happy moment, when I had the first sale and little taste of success from my shop 3 years ago--very happy moment, when my sister's first child was born last fall--very happy moment, and right now this summer is one of the sweetest I have know...ah, glory days! Happy Days to you, my friend :o) ((HUGS))

  5. What a lovely place it is here! Come visit my faerytale space, if you like! You are welcome to come. Blessings.

  6. Dustjacket Attic, thanks for stopping by and leaving me one of your wonderful notes. I have to go back and peek at your Cinderella post again. Too fabulous.
    m. heart, isn't Hollis a sweet place? They have a great flea market on Sundays. Have you been?
    Simply Mel, your moment is beautiful--so very you.
    Thanks for your comments, Tracy. I love that this summer is one of your sweetest! Mine, too. I hope you are able to create many new things this summer.
    Faery Space, thanks for finding my blog! Your blog is wondrous, indeed!
    xo Gigi

  7. Berry picking is so much fun. I think it's made more special because it's a seasonal thing. You have to wait a whole year to do it.

    So glad to hear you enjoyed it and had a wonderful time. Life is about moments and it sounds like this one for you was a good moment for you to treasure.

  8. Your photos of raspberries are the best I've seen!!!
    Now this post is really making me crave fresh fruit :)
    That last shot has amazing perspective.

  9. Oh yum... And so beautifully fresh!!!

  10. great pictures, Gigi! I love the last one...Todd looks like he wants to share. I'll accept.
    one of my happiest moments...well, every year, the first sight of snow and the first apple picking are my happiest days. last summer, while i was in colorado, the mountains took my breath away (like, literally..for a few seconds)-- right as a bunch of wild horses ran across the field- something i had never seen before. that was a happiest moment.

  11. Liss, I think you are exactly right. The fact that one enjoys berry picking or apple picking so deeply is that it's a once-a-year experience. That makes it so much more special.
    Gillian, thanks for your generous comments! I'm so glad you liked the raspberry photos.
    Kellie, you are such a sweetie!
    Cate, I love your description of the wild horses. That must have been absolutely amazing.

  12. I haven't been to the flea market! We are usually running really late for whatever family event is happening...
    but it's a gorgeous area.

  13. I just love your pictures...especially the last...what a great perspective you gave those beautiful berries! I have got to get myself out to a nearby berry farm!

    And hearing the Ode to Joy unexpectedly on a beautiful day in a gorgeous setting?...I might have been worried that I died and went to heaven!


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