Sunday, July 15, 2012

Between the Strawberry Patch and the Field



While out on a walk with Buddy a few evenings ago, we came across a patch of wild strawberries growing right next to the road. When I saw those little red berries, I thought of the summer afternoons when Mother would send my sister, Jane, and me, off to the backfield to pick strawberries. We would walk down the cow path through the woods to where the patch was growing beneath the trees, next to the pasture. Not many came back with us. I'm sure Mother had no expectations that they would. We were simply being given something to do when the days were long and our attention spans short. We would eat until we were full or the berries were gone and then go exploring. It was a good way to spend a summer day. And so, remembering that, Buddy and I sat down together in the grass between the strawberry patch and the field, ate wild strawberries, and listened to the river below us.



A person's life purpose is nothing more than to rediscover, through the detours of art, or love, or passionate work, those one or two images in the presence of which his heart first opened.  ~ Albert Camus 



Painting by Pierre Auguste Renoir

48 comments:

  1. A wonderful memory, filled with nostalgia. Thank you for taking me back into that summer afternoon with you.

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    1. Thank you for taking this little journey with me.

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  2. Nothing Is Ever New,It's Just Rediscovered?

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    1. I believe that's absolutely right, Tony, difficult to articulate, but absolutely right.

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  3. What a wonderful memory. You know, thru art, love and passionate work, I think I'm rediscovering me...
    Thank you for sharing this. Love it!

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    1. I can feel your sense of rediscovery in your newest posts. A camera can do that, a multitude of things an do that, but seeing the world with fresh eyes is what it's all about. I love what you're doing.

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  4. I got to pick strawberries a few times when I was 6 or 7, until my mother found out they were growing right next to the train tracks. The first time we went I was wearing sandals and red socks. I kept seeing something red and berry-sized in the grass, and finding it was my toe. The grand-kids picked berries at an orchard a few weeks ago and brought us some...the "wild" smell and taste really sent me back to this memory. And Teresa, the Camus quote gave me goosebumps (do people still say that?). Thanks for a great post.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your own berry-picking memories. I find that when I get goosebumps, I Know that I'm reading or hearing or saying something that rings true for me at the deepest level. I'm glad the Camus quote elicited that response.

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  5. Growing up in southern California, I don't remember any berries or strolls like you describe. It sounds wonderful. We had fruit trees, in particular orange and grapefruit trees and some fig and persimmons. Your description sounds so nice.

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    1. Orange, grapefruit, fig and persimmon trees - that sounds pretty wonderful to me. Every place has its beauty and things to discover, especially when we're young and the world is wide open to us, and we to it.

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  6. Now that is the kind of day most people should enjoy once in awhile. Make the world stand still while eating berries and watching the river flow -- glorious. -- barbara

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    1. Barbara, Living in the country provides endless opportunities for days such as this. I feel very blessed.

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  7. Those berries revived the sweetness of your youth.It made me think of sitting in a apricot tree of a farm that once was.You had to eat around some blemishes and I still remember my brother discovering 1/2 of a worm still in the fruit he was eating.

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    1. Ah, sweet youth. The remembering makes it even sweeter. Sitting in an apricot tree sounds like a pretty fine way to spend some time....

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  8. A most wonderful memory to have, Teresa, and share it anew with us here, and now the new memory of you and Buddy, wild strawberries, and listening to the river flow.

    The Camus quote is now in my own little book of quotes I keep. Thank you.

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    1. I had such fun having him eat them out of my hand. His presence encourages times such as this. I'm glad you like the quote, too.

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  9. There are those works which change one's life. For me, Camus' The Myth of Sisyphus is one of those.

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    1. He certainly had a wonderful way of writing about the beauty in this human experience.

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  10. My mom's line was 'if you kids pick enough blackberries, I will make a cobbler for supper." We did, and she did.

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    1. Blackberry cobbler sounds delicious. Double yummy.

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  11. One of my favorite Camus quotes, Teresa. To rediscover those images in the presence of which my heart first opened—that's a fair summation of what I have devoted my life to.

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  12. Beautiful post. Beautiful quote. My heart is open.

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    1. One of your recent posts dovetails nicely with this: "My heart is your heart." Such a beautiful thought. Thank you, Will.

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  13. I have bunches of those little wild strawberries in my yard. I sometimes forget to pick them because the cultivated ones, also in the yard, are bigger and easier to pick.

    I think I'll wander out there now.

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  14. This brought back a memory for me, too. When I was around 8 or 9 we were visiting a family who lived on a farm in Upper Michigan. The mom sent all us kids (her two and our three) off to a secret hilly meadow to pick wild strawberries. They were everywhere! Small, red, tangy, sweet, and juicy! All five of us ate them till we could eat no more and still we brought home a small pail full! That night we had strawberries and fresh cream from their cows for dessert after supper. I remember how delicious they were--and yet I normally am not fond of strawberries. How strange.

    I can picture you and Buddy sitting there with the wild strawberries. There's something special about the wild ones. ;)

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    1. What a good memory to have, Rita. There is something about the experience itself that adds to the sweetness, the idea that something grows wild and is there for our picking - that the earth itself is providing this wonderful little treat - makes it magical, and yet firmly grounded in this world. Quite a nice combo. :) Yes, there is something special about the wild ones.

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  15. If I can transpose your fruit to a different key, I'll report that when I was out photographing a few months ago I came across a good patch of ripe southern dewberries (Rubus trivialis). I went back a few days later with my wife and after about half an hour we'd picked five pounds of dewberries. Some of them we ended up eating raw, but Eve cooked most of the berries down into a sweet sauce that served as a topping on various other things, including ice cream. Why more people don't take advantage of the free food that's out there for the picking, I don't know.

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    1. Several years ago, my then husband and I found an almost astonishing number of dewberries, something I had never experienced before or have since, but we made jam out of them, along with some syrup. It tasted somewhat like blueberries, I thought. It was soooo good and all the more so because of the experience surrounding it, and the discovery of them in the wild. Your sauce sounds delicious, and you're so right. There is much out there for us. We just have to be willing to learn and look. Thank you, Steven.

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  16. When I come across a quotation that has been translated from a language I can read, I sometimes look up the original to see what work it came from and how it compares to the translation. In the case of the Camus quotation, I found it attributed to the preface of "L'Envers et l'endroit", a collection of essays whose title has been translated as “The Wrong Side and the Right Side”. Here's the French text (assuming it's quoted correctly on the Internet):

    "...une oeuvre d'homme n'est rien d'autre que ce long cheminement pour retrouver par les détours de l'art les deux ou trois images simples et grandes sur lesquelles le coeur, une première fois, s'est ouvert."

    Unless Camus wrote an alternate version somewhere else, the English is off in several respects from the French, which we could translate straightforwardly as:

    "...one task for man is nothing other than the long journeying to rediscover, via the detours of art, the two or three simple and great images upon which the heart opened up for the first time."

    Isn't it curious that the "two or three images" of the original French became "one or two" in English? Worse, whoever created the English version gratuitously added "love" and "passionate work".

    I have to wonder why someone would change the original so much. Any thoughts?

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  17. I don't read French and so I can't make a very valuable contribution here, but I do find many misquotes and misinterpretations, as well as loose translations everywhere on the internet. The internet is also an avalanche of opinions, created out of what I see as our individual perspectives. Personally, the idea of it going from one or two to two or three does not change it for me, and, speaking just for myself, art, love (I believe he may be referring to a higher concept of love than the personal), and passionate work are all the same, really. Certainly interchangeable on many levels. I can't possibly address the motive for adding these words, nor would I want to. I appreciate your taking the time to do some research. I believe the heart of the quote, the part I am responding to (I can't speak for others) remains the same.

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  18. Such a pleasant way to spend some time outdoors. My Choco loves strawberries but the harvest was quite skimpy this year - six berries only. I'd love to find some wild berries; haven't tasted one in over 50 years. Albert Camus' quote fits in perfectly with this post. I love it.
    You write so very well, Teresa Evangeline. You please me every time I read your post. Thank you for sharing yourself.

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    1. I hope you have an opportunity to find some wild strawberries, Sissy. Or, perhaps another berry that brings with it an unmatched sweetness.

      Thank you so much for the kind words. They are very much appreciated.

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  19. I remember wild strawberries along the road in Montana. I loved walking with the dogs and picking berries.

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    1. That's a lovely image, Galen. Thank you for that.

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  20. I could see you and Buddy there listening to the river and gathering the tiny sweet berries, it sounds just wonderful. Reminded me of my first encounter with wild strawberries, I didn't even know of them before visiting the market when I lived in Poland and seeing glistening mounds of the lovely jewels just heaped upon a piece of paper placed upon the stall. I was desperate to try them and didn't speak polish, the old lady selling them was grumpy when I indicated I wanted to buy some from her. Apparently I was supposed to have brought my own jam-jar to put them in. Eventually she fished one out from her bag and grudgingly filled it to the brim....I've never forgotten the sight of or the taste of them...'nectar of the Gods'!!

    :)))) Hugs Jane

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    1. That is an absolutely wonderful and unique story. Thank you for telling me/us about it. I could visualize it as I read. Very nice.

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  21. My parents would send me out into the soybean fields to chop down volunteer corn. I hated it! Because it was such an overwhelming task. They probably didn't have high expectations either. Ha! I'm glad you might make that yummy pizza.

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    1. That doesn't sound like much fun at all. But that apple/chicken pizza recipe you posted sure does. I have the ingredients and it's now going to happen.

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  22. The picture perfectly matches the words. Lovely.

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  23. There are few things better tasting! I've seen lots of strawberry plants and blossoms but not a single berry yet this year. Makes me wonder if we're having a problem with the pollinators!

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    1. There is much evidence to indicate that may be the cause. I was so happy to see them. We live in a world of symbiotic relationships.

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  24. Dear Teresa, thank you for the Camus quotation. It took away my breath and made me immediately aware of what the first things were that opened my heart to the Oneness of All Creation. Peace.

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    1. It's a good thing to contemplate, and remember. Thank you for commenting, Dee.

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