There was no shade from the hot sun, with the exception of the occasional clouds (dark and threatening) that blew between us and the solar body who lights up our days.
The forecast had been predicting all day of “scattered thunderstorms” and we joked while plucking blueberries from the bushes, that a little rain right now “wouldn’t be awful.”
Our fingertips were dyed blue, and some of the little children had blue-tinged lips that attested to more berries in their bellies than in their buckets.
This weekend, my family and I visited a local U-pick blueberry farm that is nestled near Miccosukee, which is a small, mostly-rural community that is near the state capital.
It was sweltering hot, the sun relented only when a darkened cloud momentarily shaded us, the weather was reportedly going to turn sour – but it never did.
All in all, we picked over 30 pounds of blueberries in under two hours, all with the intent to come home and freeze the majority – my family eats more blueberry smoothies in a month than most families do in a year.
While picking blueberries, sweating and trying not to focus on how thick and humid the air was, we had fun.
Good, old fashioned fun.
At one point, one of my sisters became a blue-spotted target when our brother threw a particularly soft (borderline rotted) berry at her.
My seven-year-old sister proclaimed quite proudly, about 30 minutes into our pickings, “I’m eating all the blueberries I pick!” and realized her mistake when older siblings and parents forced her to end her blue-feast and start working.
There were more shenanigans, such as the finding of a Georgia Thumper grasshopper by one of the boys and teasing his older sister (me) with the prospect of bringing that devil-bug to her (the sight of those spiny legs or gross pincher-mouths make me want to go very far in the opposite direction – plus, there is no Godly reason why a grasshopper needs to be that large).
Despite the rotten-berry food fight, the grasshopper teasing, the sweltering temperature and the heat-fueled sounds of cicadas – the outing is one I will remember quite fondly.
My family, currently, is on the cusp of great change.
This year, two of my little brothers will be getting married, venturing off into their own lives that we are both a part of, and less a part of.
I come from a big family – I’m the oldest of 10 children born to the same mother and father.
We’ve always been knit tightly into one another’s lives and it will be odd to see our family shift and change in these new, and very exciting, ways.
I cherish the moments we have together, all together, as a family.
Last year, I first heard the Macklemore and Kesha song “Good Old Days” when it played over the radio and the song near about moved me to tears – mainly because by then, I could already see my brothers growing serious in their relationships (who are now fiancees) and everything was changing, for the better, yes. But still changing.
There is a happy sadness, a painful melancholy in these last few months before my first brother’s wedding in August, quickly followed by the next brother getting married in October.
I am completely happy for them – both are marrying beautiful, wonderful girls who I wholly approve of (as a big sister)…but I am more than a little saddened at what will forever be changed in our family circle.
I will gain two amazing sisters-in-law but lose the childishly tight friendship that I once had with those two brothers of mine.
It brings to mind, the lyrics from “Good Old Days”, which goes:
“I wish somebody would have told me, babe
Someday, these will be the good old days
All the love you won’t forget
And all these reckless nights you won’t regret
Someday soon, your whole life’s gonna change
You’ll miss the magic of these good old days,”
How easily we overlook the precious here-and-now to instead gaze ahead to the bright and shiny future – not noticing that each moment is precious, that each memory can never be truly recreated, that everything can change oh-so-quickly.
It is inevitable, there will always be the chance to look back on the past and reminisce on the ‘good old days’ and feel as if those days were better, more precious or more special.
But I don’t want to live my whole life looking back on the good old days and overlooking the days that are full of good, special moments and happening right now.
Or as the song goes: “Maybe these are the moments, maybe I’ve been missing what it’s about; been scared of the future, thinking about the past while missing out on now.”
So even though it was only a Sunday afternoon berry pick in the sweltering hot Florida heat, surrounded by bugs, I don’t want to ever forget a single detail of the moments like it.