We walk hand-in-hand up Blueberry Hill. The hot sun bounces off the expanse of blueberry bushes for as far as we can see. Down alongside of the dirt path are masses of tangled greens with fat round clumps of berries. Our baskets will be filled in minutes if we use the scoops. It´s more fun to squat down and pick the sweet blue balls and pop them in our mouths.
“Blueberries!” my 4-year-old granddaughter exclaims. “Can I have more, Grammy?” she asks. We search and eat, “Yummy” is her opinion. Mine, too.
I have done this hot afternoon blueberry-picking before with her older sister. It is a pilgrimage of love and sharing for me. Sharing the always new and exciting moments of, “Look Grandma, how many blueberries I’ve got! ”
The love I feel bubbles and churns inside me. I don´t know the why of it. I only know the deep filling sensation I have for this life, while we clamber slowly, sweatily, up Blueberry Hill with our mouths filled and our fingers purply red. On the way up to the top, we find scoops and start to use them. Our baskets fill quickly even as we stop to eat the biggest blueberries. It is so hot, but the heat doesn´t stop the other pickers, either.
“Look how many I‘ve got.” “Look, at mine.” We are all so proud of our harvests. The abundance of laughter and happy voices fills the air. It is great to be here. Lemonade awaits us and we are so thirsty. The spigot shoots the lemonate into our cups. We gulp it down, breathless at its yumminess!
What a glorious adventure we have had and it´s not over yet. There are snacks to be eaten with more lemonade. Refueled, we will begin our slow walk back down Blueberry Hill. We are all calmer now, our excitement has become more like professionalism. We have filled our baskets and now we are using borrowed cardboard containers, like the ones at farm stands. We will fill these, too, eating still more berries on our walk down the dirt path.
We tell stories.
We tell stories to make sense of our lives.
We tell stories to communicate our experience of being alive.
We tell stories in our own distinct voice. Our own unique rhythm and tonality.
Transformations is a weekly story-telling column. The stories are written by community members who are my students.
From time-to-time we will feature guest writers whom we have invited to contribute to the Transformations series.
Our stories are about family, love, loss and good times. We hope to make you laugh and cry. Maybe we will convince you to tell your stories.
— Kathrin Seitz, editor, and Cheryl Durbas, co-editor
"Everyone, when they get quiet, when they become desperately honest with themselves, is capable of uttering profound truths. We all derive from the same source. There is no mystery about the origin of things. We are all part of creation, all kings, all poets, all musicians; we have only to open up, only to discover what is already there." — Henry Miller
Kathrin Seitz teaches Method Writing in Rockport, New York City and Florida. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Cheryl Durbas is a freelance personal assistant in the Midcoast area. She can be reached at email@example.com.
“Look out for the ruts in the path!” “Don´t twist your ankle!” “Look at THESE blueberries.” Lots of chatter, people coming up and people going down, the dust rising up around us. We don´t mind the dust. I brought tissues to wipe our faces. Our stained fingers will have to wait. No matter, we sit down by a particularly berry laden spot, eating and picking. The three of us, almost full, but not quite.
On the way home in the car we talk of baking muffins and making pancakes. Grandpa drives slowly through the winding country roads. Our granddaughter falls asleep in the carseat, a small paper cup of blueberries in her hands. Her teenage sister and her friends are making plans. I wonder if her friends get to go blueberry picking, too. I hope so. We are all tired, sunburnt and full of blueberries.
“That was fun,” says my granddaughter.
“Yes,” Grandpa mutters, “yes, it was.”
Leslie Curtis lives and works in Camden. Her four grandchildren live here too and can often be found at her design store on Bay View Street. Other than blueberry picking, a favorite activity is to skip up Main Street singing, "Skip to My Lou" or "Here We Go Loop di Loo" on the way to the library, a very favorite destination.