HomeViews From The CottageViews From The Cottage – By Melanie Martyn

Views From The Cottage – By Melanie Martyn

Views From The Cottage – By Melanie Martyn


We have sooo much garbage! In our sheds, garage, backyard, basement, and sometimes, in our minds.  A lifetime of accumulating, whether it be the latest electronics, time-saving gadgets, tools, clothing for every season, furnishings and don’t forget gifts from every birthday, Christmas, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, graduation, anniversary, etc. etc. etc. I don’t dare get into the ‘mind baggage’ LOL

This week I purged, and it felt really, really, good as I donated to the Restore, gave away clothes to the Salvation Army and handed over the few collectibles I had, to any of my adult children that would have them without the ‘sigh’. The sigh that says my idea of ‘collectible’ was not exactly in sync with their view of ‘time capsule precious’ LOL.  As a matter of fact, I recall on one of my latest visits, seeing my 1960’s Barbie (with bendable legs!) floating face down in the tub. Thankfully, I’d taken the St. Johns Ambulance First Aid and CPR courses and saved Ken from a lot of heartache!

As I was driving to the dump to rid myself of the ‘no use to anyone’ refuse, I passed a U-Pick strawberry patch. Note to self, must make jam. On the way back I stopped in, counted the little bit of cash I never carry anymore and decided I could fill two four-litre baskets before my back complained grievously. The idea of raised beds (about four feet high) came to mind but no such luck here.

As I stooped and foraged my way up the straw-strewn paths, I felt an overwhelming sense of privilege and said a quiet prayer of thanks. How blessed are we to be able to stop in to a local farm and enjoy the bounty of early summer produce, no matter the cost. ‘Buy local’ is my motto when at all possible.

Now you cannot resist the urge to nibble as it is a matter of ‘quality control’, I like to tell myself. Truly, I only ate the miscreants (those that would fall to fallow for their slight imperfections lol). Scanning, stooping, selecting and enjoying the fresh air becomes almost meditative and I hummed to myself. Thoughts sift through the ether and settle somewhere behind my eyes. Misty memories. I laughed to remember the time I tried to feed a wild strawberry to a huge (to me at least) Garter snake, cozily curled up in the shade of a small bush. I was maybe six and had traversed the fields across from my cottage to pick as many of the tiny wild berries as I could for something to do. If lucky, I would gather enough to give to mom to make a tiny amount of real jam. The taste of summer! Other memories, more haunting, were dredged up as well.

My brother passed at 22 and not happily, but one of his favourite songs came to mind, as did he. “Strawberry Fields…Forever”, by the Beatles, 1967. It was released on a ‘45’ (remember records?) with the flip side, “Penny Lane” (my Beatle fave). The song was purportedly about John Lennon’s childhood scrambles over the fence and into the grounds of a girl’s orphanage, “Strawberry Field”. There, he found solace in the secretive, wildflower gardens while hanging out with the lodgers. After his passing, the song title became a memorial for him in Central Park.

Two full baskets picked, I stretched and basked in the sun a few minutes more before plucking a few daisies, purple clover and vetch flowers for the dinner table. I think the welcome, time-out strawberry picking adventure was very fruitful in so many ways. Somehow, I felt my mind purged from the last dregs of garbage I’ve been holding on to. Berry good indeed! And as the song says…

“Strawberry Fields…nothing is real and nothing to get hung about…Strawberry Fields Forever!”

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