The Earth Restores (Amie Stone King)
Even as we work to restore the earth it is constantly offering us restoration…
A darkening sky reflected the turmoil in my soul as I knelt among the vines. Berry juice stained my thumb as the thorny branches caught my sleeve. I had returned to the patch to search, remember, cry and find peace.
Three Springs ago my grandmother lay dying, a victim of B-cell lymphoma. Within a few days of discovering a lump, the news went from bad to worse. By the time my father and I arrived at Grandma’s side a week later, the growth had spread into her neck, causing edema and pain in her arm. As we sat in the oncologist's office, my 91-year-old grandmother appeared somewhat dazed but listened as the doctor spoke and then nodded her approval for chemo. The process was arduous and short-lived, since what was meant to save her actually hastened her death.
An avid gardener and lover of the outdoors, Grandma’s house was surrounded by lush flower beds and a vegetable plot in the side yard. Hummingbird feeders hung outside the picture window, while sunflower seeds and corn were in quick supply along the tree line behind their house. As a child, I spent hours in the woods there building forts, imagining great stories and searching for wild berries to eat.
It felt natural to grieve her loss in the berry patch near my house. Years earlier I had discovered the huge thicket in a drainage area off the greenbelt. Loads of berries for cobblers and jam have been harvested there. About to lose my final grandparent and a legacy of love, care and unconditional support, I found myself drawn to the place. Falling into the repetitive picking motion stilled my mind and a deep calm washed over me.
The patch was a place of great solitude and renewal that Spring. The warmth of the sun and the smell of the berries provided comfort of the familiar, making me feel closer to my grandmother. By the end of the season, hope emerged from grief and my joy was restored.
-- Amie Stone King