Wednesday, June 5, 2013
Gather and share
Small as I was, I could not bring a cake, or make a sandwich. I was not helping haul out benches to the hilltop under the spreading maple, not gingerly carrying chiming cups and saucers by the pile nor supporting urns slopping over with hot coffee or tea for the gathered friends and family there to celebrate another year of shared work, laughter and community.
But oh, how I wanted a slice of cake, some home-made squares, and lemonade by the gulp. So I asked if I could help somehow. And was sent out to the meadow. Come back with all the flowers you can carry. An empty bucket was set in the middle of the round mill stone girt in an iron band that we were going to use as a table outside. It was mine to fill.
Down the rocky road in bare feet, over two bridges and out of sight, through the creaky gate (close the gate, close the gate!) and into the hot summer strawberry field dappled with quietly chewing cows.
The cows didn't mind me, just flapped an ear, turned an eye to follow where I went, following colour anywhere it appeared. I have no idea still what they were called, the blooms I gathered, but an armful wasn't enough. I tucked the bundles into my shirt I and only stopped gathering when I could barely grasp its hem over the stems. White lace in abundance, and yellow bobs of flowers so heavy they bent double in the grass; Prickly tickly fuzzy gray stalks with purple-blue bells catching sunlight, facing up, bright pink in the bottom of the cup, yellow suns turned up, some turned down, orange wispies on whisper thin stems, the bright boldness of a froth of yellow, and when I dared, with my hand wrapped in my shirt, a bold thistle or two to stand above the crowd.
I knew, as I walked back, peering at the path through the cloud of colour in my arms, that this bundle of colour, this joyful riot I brought would make the whole gathering better. Happier. More of a celebration.
And I was pretty sure it was worth at least two pieces of cake.