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Safe (2022)

The sun warms my back as the small bucket swings in one hand. Baby Calvin steadies himself through the tall grass holding onto my other hand. The big white bucket later will hold our gleaned treasures. A bit wild this year, the bushes' care have obviously been set aside for more manageable tasks. But the berries' abundance stresses this season is short; it won't last forever. "Don't pick the green ones," I remind Baby Boy as he shoves a handful of underripe blueberries. "Ewww! Yucky!" His face crinkles in disgust, glaring. Should have given him the reminder a second earlier. The others have abandoned their buckets, now farther afield playing the animal game, the deep speckled blue forest enabling their imagination more than any iPad game ever could. Calvin and I work in tandem, slowly filling our bucket. Plop. Plop. As the berries layer the bottom, the sound becomes more muffled. Working slowly, the peace of this place blankets my heart. Covered and secure. Yes, that is what this place feels like. Peace and Home. Safe.

My heart is a blueberry bucket, each piece added one at a time. Once my bucket was empty, freshly washed from the previous gleaner. The first few pieces plopped loudly, shocking my system. "Ewwww! Yucky!" my heart exclaimed back then. Those berries tart and gritty. The sun warmed and ripened the fruit and the drops of safety felt sweet and right, layering the heart-bucket. A kind word. A non-judgmental glance. A hug. An understanding that I am okay, just the way I am. My bucket is full.

*This is a rewrite from a post of the same title in 2018.*

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