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Tonight I needed a little strawberry therapy. Haven’t heard of it?? Well, that’s probably because I just made it up! Let me explain… I’ve always had a big garden and feed my family out of the garden all summer. We moved into a new home this December, and the existing garden in our new yard is in the north forty (that’s farmer-talk for a long way away!). I had a dilemma – I needed to plant my garden, but I also wanted to move it closer to our home and that was going to take awhile. Well, through the grapevine I found out my back yard neighbor, Howard, was looking for someone to use his garden this year. Sign me up!
I planted and am tending his beautiful 1000 square feet of garden space (yeah, that’s a lot). I’ve almost sworn off the grocery store for the summer because we have so much already. (Side note – if anyone needs lettuce I have about 300 beautiful organic heads that I need to give away!!) Last weekend I was weeding my part of the garden and noticed his strawberries were starting to ripen. They were buried in morning glory weeds, so I spent an hour weeding and picking the strawberries- two bowls full. The next day I picked another bowl full, and yesterday another bowl. You will never find strawberries like this in the store- sweet, tart, juicy, yum! My hands were stained green from the weeds and my back was broken from bending over, but did I tell you these strawberries are GOOD?!?
Back to tonight. I was feeling melancholy – my big boys are gone all week to basketball camp and I’m missing them, I am tired from a late night, and the dishes never seem to do themselves. I had a choice – I could either ignore the dishes and go to bed, or I could go pick strawberries. Huh?? Picking strawberries is not exciting, and in fact, it may even seem tedious. You bend over and push the plants from side to side looking for those bright red treasures. I chose to pick strawberries and that’s when my night turned around.
I found that as I was out there doing something as simple as picking strawberries, my mind and body relaxed. I noticed the sunset, I listened to the birds in the neighbor’s tree, I breathed a little deeper and I got into a rhythm. Push, push, pick. Push, push, pick. The bowl started to fill and I felt better. What is it about nature that makes everything fall into place? I realized how small I was compared to the endless sky above me, and I saw how big I was compared to the slug that was trying to get it’s share of strawberries. Push, push, pick, breathe. Strawberry therapy.
As much as I’d like to claim I invented a new type of therapy, I don’t think it’s exclusive to strawberries or to me. I think nature is a free therapist just waiting to help us have a better day. So let’s all go outside. Take your shoes off. Feel the earth. Look up at the sky. Breathe and eat a strawberry! Let’s all enjoy this beautiful world we share!
Dr. Michelle Jorgensen