We picked our first tee-shirt-ful of blackberries today.
And even though I don't consider myself to be the slightest bit religious, I said a little prayer. Well actually I said half a prayer because I got rid of the beginning and only said the end. It's a Jewish prayer and the transliteration is - shehecheyanu vekiymanu vehigyanu lazman hazeh - and I think it translates to something like - thank you to you who has granted us life, who has sustained us and enabled us to reach this occasion.
I just checked the blessing out on Wikipedia and traditionally it is recited 'when doing or experiencing something that occurs infrequently from which one derives pleasure or benefit.'
For me though the prayer is about the picking and tasting and celebrating the first fruit or vegetable of the season. I like the concept of choosing bits from here and there to give meaning and value to moments. I like stopping to notice and acknowledge and be grateful.
All through his married life my grandfather would bring the first fruits of the season home to his darling wife, my grandmother. He would then recite the blessing and they would enjoy the sweetness together. When I still lived at home with my family, every Sunday morning my grandfather would come over early with a box stuffed full of bagels, fresh fruit and vegetables. Anytime there was anything new, anything we hadn't tasted in many months, he would recite the blessing and together we would gobble the fresh cherries, or corn, or tomatoes.
After we moved to our farm this blessing took on a new meaning for me as we were growing so much of our own produce. It wasn't just the newness we were celebrating anymore, but the whole process that brought us to the ripe fruit. Everything from the seeding to the weeding to the watering. Every week my grandparents would come and visit and spend the day with us and anytime we had something new for him to taste he would hold the fruit in his hand close to his face, he would close his eyes and recite the blessing and then he would give my grandmother the first bite, follow it with his bite and then he would rave about how wonderful it was. I loved it when the girls started joining in. I loved the whole ritual. It made something so simple into an occasion.
Today we picked and ate our first blackberries of the season. Generally I'm not such a fan of the little black fruit, but the first of the season felt special. I recited my half of the blessing, Miss Pepper ate one and then I followed. I only wish my grandfather could have been here to share the moment and our berries. I'll have to take him some when we visit on the weekend.
Do you have any special seasonal rituals?
Do you like blackberries?
Can you believe that I told my Dad I could write this blog post in one or two sentences?
I hope you're enjoying the sweetness of your season whatever it may be.
ps Happy birthday Abby!