Of Mulberries and Tiger Lilies

Of Mulberries and Tiger Lilies June 19, 2015

Tiger Lilies Gone Wild by Miserisasonrisa Creative Commons License
Tiger Lilies Gone Wild by Miserisasonrisa
Creative Commons License

My awareness of the seasons and the time of year revolves around certain little markers that seem to change everything for me. Winter is the first fall of snow, or the consistent presence of that biting northern wind.  Spring is ushered in by trees covered in buds, waiting patiently for the bees to awaken and blossoms to unfurl.

Summer is heralded by the sight of the first glowing firefly, which happened almost a month ago now. And I always know Midsummer is coming as the mulberries ripen to fat, sweet purple fruits, and the tiger lilies start to open up their fiery orange petals.  These blooms are the essence of summer captured in a flower, shining like the sun and proliferating endlessly, impossible to completely root out of a space where they’re established.  Life is always present, always full of fire, though in some seasons it slumbers.

Today I tasted the first mulberry of the season, hanging ripe and ready on a small bush in the ditch behind my work. It was tart, just as I like them, perhaps a bit too early to be picked for the taste of most others. It was warm, as if the sunshine had been captured within it- which, if you really think about it, it was.

That little bush performed a miracle of sorts, taking the light of the sun and turning it into energy that it could use to grow those wonderful little fruits. The mulberries are a gift, a precious combination of the efforts of the soil, the sun, the rain, the little bush. I feel so honored to stand here in this place, green and quiet, to taste this simple pleasure that is the result of so much work, so many resources.

Photo by Rastoney Creative Commons License
Photo by Rastoney

Creative Commons License

And so I give back. Like most Heathens, I believe strongly in reciprocity, a gift for a gift. It will never be equal- how could I give back to all the tiny pieces of life and spirit that made this one berry possible? But I give anyway, to show that I am grateful, that I know and understand what this gift means.

I pour a bit of my lemonade beneath the plant and say a few words of gratitude. These too will never be enough. The good earth, the shining sun, the gentle rains – they give us the very substance of life, that which sustains us. I am never more aware of this then at these moments, marking the passing of the seasons, reveling in the intense beauty of all that is around me.

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