The older boys and I headed up through an uncut hayfield tonight. I looked back to see their little blond heads bobbing up through the tall grasses, trying to catch a glimpse of me as we forged ahead, berries on the mind. We picked until our fingers were purple and juicy and our three containers were just about full of raspberries and black caps.
Aiden’s bin of berries encountered two acts of nature, landing in red and black juicy piles down around his rubber boots. Frustrated by the second dump, I again warned him to keep the lid on when walking around. He was quiet. A moment later I told him it was alright that his berries dumped and that it was an accident. He looked up at me, “so can you not yell at me when I dump them again?” I agreed and we filled it once more.
They climbed a cherry tree while I picked a few last berries and we headed down the other side of the freshly cut and baled hill. Much easier walking.
“Mama, can you wait” came Andrew’s small voice behind me, “I want to look at this apple tree.”
I watched and waited as he did just that. He stood there, hands on hips, looking at one of the apple trees in the old hedgerow, admiring it. Whisps of clouds and the moon’s sliver overhead, he took a leaf and examined it, turning it back and forth in his hand.
We sat on the hill for a minute and were quiet and listened. The boys told me all the sounds they heard. Some birds they knew, some not. The wind whispering down the hill. A dog far off.
“This is just like a date with you, isn’t it Mama?” they said.