I rush toward the short shrubs
Like puppies in a pen,
Wanting to snuggle the branches.
“What are these?”
A bittersweet excitement ensues as he says only,
I hold the hunter green un-budded branch.
“I need to cross pollinate.
Create a new plant,
Then plant the children of these
He motions across the rows of bushes.
The immediacy of the sweet, tart burst of a blueberry, the way the soft skin brushes the side of the tongue rolls across the mind.
“Ten years to really produce.”
My eyes fall down to the red clay earth,
as the intimacy and importance of this small shrub strikes me:
An 82-year old man planting shrubs whose fruit is ten years off.
He coughs to disrupt the shear tenderness of legacy gathered about us.
I am relieved to not have to find the words to say:
“Thank you for the blessing of berries.
For the generosity of this gift.”
A gift beyond articulation.
The 82-year old engineer turned blueberry farmer hands me the offering bucket
And we walk on in the sanctuary of shrubs
Quietly dreaming of the pie that will be baked
A decade from now.
This must be how hope feels,
The fruit of the ancestors’ dreaming
In the hands of the grandchildren.