Friday the 13th — oooh, aah

So it’s Friday the 13th — big deal!

Well, it is kind of a big deal, because it is my friend Heather’s birthday today!  Yay, Heather!

We went for a most excellent walk this morning.  Started out on our usual trip through the Gibbons river valley trail, but decided to head a different direction.  And were we ever glad we did!  We stumbled across a mother lode of wild strawberries.

My they are the tastiest, sweetest little bites of heaven.

We didn’t actually get much walking in, instead we grazed our way along the path.  With joyful cries of “Oh my God!  Just look at how many are here!”  we’d stoop or drop to our knees and pick until we had a good palm’s full of little red gems.  Then we’d look at one another, count 1-2-3 and pop the whole handful into our mouths.  Then we’d smile and make yumming sounds.

If you have never tasted a wild strawberry then you are missing out on one of this world’s most enjoyable, most life-enhancing experiences.  They have a taste that is so intense, so sweet, so pure, so joyful that it is impossible to describe.  But, I’ll try.

Imagine a fresh picked strawberry from your garden or from some one else’s garden.  Not a store-bought strawberry that has had its soul stripped away and then spent countless hours in the dark, refrigerated interior of some transport truck.  No, it has to be a strawberry that is on the vine, bedded in straw and kissed daily by sunshine.  Imagine the lovely colour and the way your mouth waters in anticipation of biting into that plump, sweet jewel. Imagine closing your eyes and savouring the intensity of the flavour as your tongue is flooded with bright, sweet berry juice.  Imagine the smile of pure pleasure that transforms your face for that brief moment, and then imagine your greedy desire for more.

Okay, so take that and multiply it about a thousand-fold and maybe, just maybe, that will come close to the experience of eating a wild strawberry.  From the moment we popped that first tiny red berry into our salivating maws we were in a frenzy to find more.  Gleeful, we were, on our hands and knees gently plucking the tiny bits of goodness from their diminutive plants.  “How many you got?  Got enough?  Here take a few of mine.”  Then we’d toss them into our mouths and stand there like a couple of kids grinning as we chewed and savoured and swallowed.

We marvelled at our good fortune this morning and I told Heather it was the perfect birthday present.  We reminisced about past days of wild-berry picking and how we’d bring them home to our children for a special little treat to add to their breakfast.  Then we got thinking about in the ‘olden’ days when people would go out and pick pails full of these tiny little beauties to make jam.  And not just one jar, but enough to last through a winter.  Enough to remind them through a long, cold prairie winter that there was hope for days of sunshine and green and berries and smiles.

I can’t imagine picking enough of the little suckers to accomplish that, simply because I’d eat them all.  I’d probably have been one of those kids that got the switch when I got home with an empty pail.  But, I probably wouldn’t have minded all that much because the taste of wild strawberry is worth that much.

The sky was ablaze again this morning

Not a great shot, compositionally, but I was in a hurry.  Just wanted to share the colours.

6:30 a.m. Sept. 22, 2011

It is a lovely morning here in Bon Accord.  The sky is glorious, the breeze soft and warm.  The smell of ripening apples is everywhere, and the ground is covered in brown and gold leaves.  When I step out in the morning and am confronted by the beauty of a sky like this it lifts my heart and my spirit and makes me glad to be alive.  I know I am truly blessed.

Today, at work our school is taking part in the annual Terry Fox run.  A Canadian legend, his legacy continues to inspire.  I am glad that we are going to have such a beautiful day in which to celebrate his achievements.  The river valley trail where our run takes place will be a gorgeous backdrop to this event.  I will sit in my G-spot and cheer the kids on as they run, jog, lope, walk and sometimes whine their way past me.

I’ll listen to the sounds of the birds in the bushes and trees around me, and relax to the soft rush of water below as the Sturgeon River wends its way eastward.  It’s a great way to spend an afternoon — don’t know many other jobs that have such great perks.

Enjoy the gifts you are given today.