Updated: Apr 8, 2020
So today, much to the amusement of my family, I’m going to fully embrace my
“hippy mama self” and relate a few of my mind wanderings of the last few months.
At the end of last summer, I was out in my garden picking blackberries to freeze to eat throughout the winter. And it was surprising to me how blackberry picking could evoke such strong memories to many a childhood day in the hot sun picking huge buckets of blackberries with my mother and siblings. It felt as though we picked for hours and the buckets were infinite, as you couldn’t return home until they were full. When we did eventually return home, out would come the massive jam pot and the process of making enough jam to feed a family of 9 would begin. With some embarrassment, I remember being the one to complain about the seeds, and that I only liked seedless jelly jam, which took a lot longer to prepare as it meant overnight straining through a muslin cloth attached to the legs of an upturned kitchen stool. But it was worth it, the jelly jam was so much nicer!
And blackberries always remind me of my lovely Dad who liked nothing more than a simple homemade apple & blackberry pie, which my mum would make him if he would climb up the banking to pick them. Oh, the nostalgia of blackberries!
My Parents: Walter & Barbara.
But on this particular occasion, the thought kept occurring to me that there really is enough for all! I had started with the intention of picking the bush clean, but a little while later while watching the birds and other wildlife enjoying the fruits as much as I was, I realised I didn’t have to strip it bare to take everything, just what I needed. There was enough for all and it wasn’t my right to just clear everything. Likewise, with the hazelnut tree, I could gather it all, leave nothing behind, but what about the two small squirrels who live in my garden and are busily storing food for winter also! Don’t they have a right to some of the spoils? And again I thought, surely there is enough for all?
I love this thought and truly believe it! But I found out the hard way that you really can’t make a deal with a slug! You can’t offer him a few leaves of your lettuce while you reap the rest. You can’t leave him the odd cabbage or a few carrots, oh no my friend. Some things you just can’t make a bargain with! Lesson learnt! But still:
“Earth was created for all of us, not some of us”.
Anthony Douglas Williams
I then went on to think of the old fashioned term ‘gleaning’. In ancient times, gleaners went around the fields after harvest to gather produce that had been left behind. Nothing was wasted and everyone benefited. I recently read that now in the 21st century, volunteers collect leftover crops from farmers’ fields after commercial harvests: fruits and vegetables which have been discarded because they are a bit wonky or misshapen (yet are still perfectly good to eat) are collected and sent to charities and food projects. And I thought what an amazing idea, nothing going to waste and sharing out all that the earth provides.
A friend of mine for the last few years has been gleaning in an apple orchard in Kent and collected many baskets of fruit for charities that she is working with. I so love this idea and would love to get involved in similar projects myself.
I think we live in a wonderful world where there really is enough for all, if only we share our abundance.