What a relief, when I thought about the ideals I set for myself in parenting and farming and home preparation. Part of me wanted to be frantic about my to-do list. The painting! The packing! The scrubbing!
Then I looked out and saw the cherry tree, brilliant jewels hanging ripe, ready to be consumed.
I have no time to pick cherries.
After drinking my coffee and saying my prayers, I knew we needed to pause and pick some cherries.
It was an act of worship and trust.
I drove the suburban underneath the ancient tree and Christine and I climbed up, buckets in hand. We made certain to eat as many as possible, then plunked handfuls of the precious commodity into our stainless steel buckets, cool breeze blowing in our hair, carrying to our ears the occasional bleat of a lamb looking for her mama.
At some point, I began to weep. I knew this was probably the last cherry picking we would experience on this farm.
I felt such grief and loss. Most of the time Philip didn't help us pick cherries, but he got out there occasionally. Mostly it would be me and my gal pals and all the kids, scrambling about, cherry-stained lips, knees and fingers and toes. He sure did enjoy the cherry tarts and the cherry brandy and the cherry pies.
Isn't it interesting that picking cherries would stir such sensory feelings of grief?
After gathering three gallons or so, we got back to more "responsible" work. I put on my crying music (Eva Cassidy) and cried a little and smiled a little, and we got much done.
I hope to make a giant jar of cherry brandy to take down to Texas for winter enjoyment. (Using last year's damson plum brandy recipe, see post sometime late July, 2010.) And we plan to pit the rest and put them in the freezer for future cherry almond tarts, our very favorite, better than any other dessert in the whole wide world. If I forget, someone out there, remind me to post that recipe. It really is the best thing we have ever tasted. Unless you happen to have some wineberries and then we would have to concur that wineberry almond tart is the best dessert in the whole world.
Life on this precious farm has been so good for me. We did put in many hours of long and productive labor. But in the middle of it all we found cherries! And even the tears were sweet.
Tomorrow Christine has to return to Texas. Argh. I miss her already. But how thankful I am for her help. And for the shining trim. And clean bathroom. And all the other tasks that would otherwise have never gotten accomplished. We are a great team. Too bad Terri couldn't make it. Boy, Mom and Daddy, you sure did train us up to work hard together!
Speaking of work hard together, later I will have to write about the brilliant job the kids have done on painting the deck. They are amazing. More on them later. But now, to bed. To dream of painting and other fun things. Like cherry tart.
I hope you find your sweet cherry tree in the middle of life's circumstances.