Blossom and Ripen

I told E. that I had been stealing his strawberries growing on the bank by the side of his house, and he told me to eat some of the big, juicy ones growing on the roof of the shed in the back. E. also said, “Your hose reel is looking quite full.” With just a hint of sarcasm, I shot back, “Thanks for pointing that out!” and we both laughed. After a downpour this morning, the sun had come out, and it felt like an entirely different day. The weather in Bellingham is bipolar, I’ve noticed.

C. began pulling weeds around the bench, and D. joined her in what grew into a massive weed pulling campaign of the entire front yard. Two girls walked up over the hill–the one with a Cat-in-the-Hat hat began walking on top of the knit line like a tight rope while her friend in the mint fur hat tried to get her to walk normally.  It was Crazy Hat day, part of the countdown to the end of the school year tomorrow.  I will miss my free-spirited friends.  Little girls are so completely unselfconsious and powerful.

Two men came walking up and one was telling the other, “If you’ve wandered off the path, you can choose whether to get back on it after 500 yards or 5000 miles.” They stopped when they saw me knitting, and asked me about my project. “This is my path,” I told them. The younger, bearded man was a pastor at WWU, the bald man was visiting from Thailand…The young man told me, “A lot of people probably stop and talk to you…This is a ministry!” I thought that was pretty openminded of him. It reminds me of Harvey who says that his community service is throwing neighborhood parties. And, a former student of mine, who was a Minister of Color. During winter quarter, he arrived to class wearing brightly colored duds, my favorite–the orange sweaterknit with the chicken on the front. His mustard coveralls for dirty oil painting and charcoaling were the runner up.

C. told me that I had probably knit 2 hours today, and that I didn’t need to come knit tomorrow—she wouldn’t tell anyone. I told her that’s not how it works.  As I was leaving, she gave me a jar of strawberry jam made by the poet Luci Shaw. “Sharing the wealth,” C. said.  I couldn’t believe it…the thought of eating strawberry jam made by a local poet somehow made the jam that much more precious. I almost imagined putting it on an altar! My knit had come full circle—beginning and ending with strawberries. It confirms what I heard interiorly last week—don’t focus on doing things, but on blossoming and ripening. Someone please tell me, how does a strawberry vine turn dirt into sweetness? How do you get red, juicy fireworks for the tongue from mulch?

Riding home, I bicycled over some blue bottle glass, and within another block, my back tire was flat.  With a full bladder, I walked my hiccuping bike home along the trail , enjoying the orange-winged flickers, and the golden buttercups.


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