Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Strawberry Picking



    A person knows his place when he can stand in the center of his Vegetable Garden and watch a Mockingbird harvest a Strawberry.  There is a brief struggle, because Strawberry are always just that little bit reluctant to let go of their fruit unless that fruit has achieved the condition of perfectly ripe, which in the Vegetable Garden is not a thing that happens due to pressure from  those of us who compete for Strawberry.  Then off goes the Mockingbird with a Strawberry in his beak.  Nor is this an easy thing for a Mockingbird to do, because Strawberries are large and roundish and awkward, while a Mockingbird's beak is rather delicate and flying with beak agape must make it difficult to see where you're going.   So far as I can tell, of two legged creatures, Mockingbirds and People are the only kind that carry off Strawberry. Everyone else prefers to wallow and peck in the course of their strawberry harvest. No clue what the Garden Mouse or the Chipmunk does, and incidentally still no Stinkbug.

    It can also be discouraging to find Strawberries in various conditions of ripeness dotted around and quite a long distance from the bed where they began life as flowers.  These discoveries give an appearance of rampant carelessness and disregard for the dignity of a Strawberry.  They stare up from the gravel or the cut grass or the path and they cry out, "what have I done wrong!"  It is the case though, that in the earlier part of the Strawberry season if a person puts an imaginary line between one of these abandoned Strawberry and the Strawberry bed, and he follows that line, odds are it leads to a Mockingbird nest. And always it surprises me how large Mockingbird children are and how many of them there have been these past years.  Then around now, as Strawberry season draws to its end, younger Mockingbird hang out in the Raspberry, so they can see exactly how a Strawberry is harvested.  This means that in a week or so, when  Raspberry ripen, the youngsters will know exactly what's expected from them.


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