This time of year brings out the dreamer in all of us who have a connection to the land. Let’s face it, we have not seen or walked on anything green for about six months. Under the snow, under the mud, under everything there are grasses waiting to sprout. Under the grasses are the roots of berry plants and fruit trees. They are so patient all winter and now they are getting fidgety. The buds that have escaped the deer’s nibbling are swelling with promise. A bird jumps off the end of a branch seeing if it still remembers how to do it.
We are more connected to the fruit trees, birds and berries than we know. They evolved along the edges of forests and streams and so did we. Like us, they inhabit the middle range of life on earth. Not so tall and not so small, they have been planted and cared for by us people and the animals that live among us. They are around our height. We can reach their fruit, and they can survive because their fruit tastes good to us. We mow around them. We plant their seeds and propagate our favorites.
Come into the garden. It’s good here. Step away from what you need to be doing. Give in to the lushness and colors and smells of the berry patch and fruit grove. Eat deeply from the bounty where everything exists together and all are one.
What really nourishes us? Fresh water flowing to us and through us. Things that grow in the earth that are so fresh and good that when we taste them, they melt in our mouth and fill us with simple joy.
Springtime is coming. Wildflowers are blooming. There is plenty to eat, extra to share. As our world turns slowly but with a lot of weight, remember. There is always time for the garden. Birds can fly, because they take themselves lightly.
A berry saved is a berry earned,
make sure your berry bed is well turned.
Toss those berries right into your mouth,
that’s what we do in the great old south.
Grow some for Grandma, grow some for Pete,
make sure you, too, get enough to eat.
Try some new ones, plant some old,
make sure they can take the cold.
Vermont’s the place where they taste best,
cold nights, blue skies give them their zest.
Freeze ’em, jam ’em, get ’em picked,
before the chipmunks have each one licked.
Come to the garden, friend and foe,
you’ll see why it’s such a great place to go.
We won’t make you dig or rake or weed,
We promise to let you plant a seed
Spring is coming over the hill,
It’s been a while but I can see it still.
Drip drap plunk in the bucket or on my hat,
maple syrup sure makes up for that
So, grow some berries, grapes and nuts,
notice the bunnies in their little earth huts.
Healthy lives are made each day,
we find ourselves the time to play.
David Fried of Elmore Roots Fruit Tree and Berry Nursery (which celebrates its 40th spring season) is still in love with the earth.