Poem: Strawberries

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The main crop strawberries are over now, but these little alpines continue – first one part of the garden, then another, is the place to hunt.  It depends on light, and shade, and water, and when the robins and blackbirds discover them.  We – people in our neighbourhood – are sharing plants, and produce, when we have surplus.  It’s part of the deeper connections we’re working to make, to give and to share.  It’s a kind of abundance and connection that gives me hope.  The Transition Woodbridge movement have been doing a marvellous job of facilitating sharing surplus plants and produce, especially during lockdown, and are continuing to plan harvesting from the community fruit trees as the seasons begin to turn.

 

I wrote this poem when the space under the rosebushes was full of big juicy strawberries – and I took photos, too, but my memory card was playing up, and they were lost. So the pictures are of the smaller ones, which seem to keep going most of the warmer weather. Whenever I eat the big maincrop strawberries, I think of the friend who gave me the parent plants to all I now have.  She lives further away now, but is still growing beautiful things.  She taught me a lot about gardening, especially about listening – to the land, and the things that grow there – and learning from your place.  I miss her, and, when harvesting strawberries one day, I thought of the good fruits of friendship, and its spread and reach, and how it enriches our communities and lives so much, along with the plants and the produce.  We see the goodness of the fruits.

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Strawberries
for Kay

Today I am thankful
for strawberries,
growing under the rose bushes,
festooned with casual netting
like a green scarf.

Some rest on the old
stone path, ripening fast,
others are hidden among
leaves of ladies mantle,
sheltered from sun and beaks,

And most of all, I am
thankful for the friend
I watched as she gently
dug the parent plants
from her own rich patch,
who held them out to me
with a reminder to
plant at dusk,
in the cool.
How they have spread
since then.

Friendship, too,
sends out long runners,
who knows where,
small plants that root
as the moment arises,
and how, years later,
these too give
sweet red fruit,
again, and again.

 

 

Little Free Pantry Update

 

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Thank you Elaine for the pictures.

Some local friends will know about the wonderful Little Free Pantry at St Andrew’s Church, Melton, Suffolk, UK.  You can read more about it here.  This year, during the coronavirus crisis, it has been a valuable way for neighbours to show neighbours some love and care, but it’s had a bit of a bumpy ride.  For a while, we had to close it down while the church building was shut, and then, when it had been running again for a while, the church tower was struck by lightning making the porch unsafe.

I’m delighted to tell you, if you hadn’t heard on the grapevine, that the pantry is operating again – but this time, from the foyer of the church room at the other end of the building.  You can access it via the little lane and the rectory garden.  We’ve been blown away by the generosity of people leaving food for one another. Word of the new location is getting out, and people have been amazingly generous. We’re so glad that people are able to use it to both give and take food, for themselves or on behalf of someone else.

The principle of the pantry is so simple:

Give what you can, take what you need.

Just come, no questions asked.  You don’t have to meet anyone, or explain yourself.  It is open
Monday to Wednesday, 10 am to 5 pm.

Church room foyer, access via the lane and Rectory garden.

If you are standing in front of the Church, facing it on the pavement, go to the right of the building, past the end of the wall.  There’s a little lane.  Turn into the Rectory drive and immediately turn left – you only have to skirt through, you won’t be disturbing anyone or anything – and you’ll soon be passing the church bins and by the door to the Church room. Do come.
It’s such a good way for the community showing love and solidarity at a difficult time.  We’re aware people’s financial situations may be quite precarious at present, and want you to know that the pantry is there to help you and your family, as a sign of the love of the community, and God’s love unfolding in this place.

To all who use the pantry,  to give or receive or both, thank you and bless you.

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Some of the additional supplies.