This is a guest post from Jean LeStourgeon. It’s true, the best things in life are free. The best things in life are the things money can’t buy – things like a cool breeze, sunshine sparkling on the ocean, time spent with bosom buddies, deep blue skies, powder puff clouds, stars twinkling on a backdrop of velvet night, rainbows gracing the sky after a late afternoon rain shower, the glory of God displayed in the rising sun, a harvest moon hanging over the tree tops, warm hugs from dear old souls, and sweet luscious mulberry’s hanging heavy on the branch, ripe for the picking.
Today was one of those days in Palm Bay Florida. The kind that just makes you feel rich and totally content…like you can forget for a moment all that’s going on in the world that you would just as soon forget anyway. I was already walking down my driveway, about to take a walk, in the cool, sunshiny spring afternoon and suddenly remembered my neighbor Janet’s invitation. “Feel free to pick mulberries from my tree on the side of the house…it’s loaded.” Quickly, I ran inside, grabbed me a metal bowl, and jogged over to her house.
Turning the corner to her side yard, I saw it. The mulberry tree stood broad and tall. Its branches were hanging over the street, bending close to the ground. Each willowy limb was laden with berries, tucked under graceful green leaves, just asking to be found and picked. Moving easily from one branch to the next, plucking the lowest hanging fruit first – plump, juicy, black and most of all sugary sweet – I happily filled my bowl. After about 15 minutes of picking – fingers dyed with the violet-red juices, sneaker treads filled with reminders of where I had been, quart size bowl filled to the brim with picture perfect sweetness wrapped up in black jeweled delights – I was in heaven.
The blessing of a mere 15 minute harvest brought me back to blissful summer days growing up in Maine. The anticipation of waiting on the variety of fruit to come in – each had its own short season. Heading up the summer parade of nature’s delights was the wild alpine strawberries that signaled in June “summer is finally here”. Marching 6 weeks or so behind the tiny sweet strawberries were the delicate and soft red raspberries I loved so much. They came into their own in the mid summer month of July. Every summer my mum would tell me the story of how she went into labor with me a few days after picking raspberries on our new property in Bangor in the heat of the summer. I do believe her story encouraged my love for these precious berries. Finally the prized blueberry would bring up the rear ready to be raked or picked in late August. This grand summer finale was worth the wait.
Oh, it is true, the best things in life cannot be purchase, but they can be shared by generous neighbors out of the abundance of their blessings.
We can’t tell you exactly where these beautiful Palm Bay Florida mulberries are because our neighbor’s yard might be overrun, but look around, there may be some in your neighborhood.