Spring arrives subtly in Florida. The days are sunny and marked by a cool breeze. Birdsong fills the air. And locally-grown strawberries are piled high at every produce market and farm stand.
To honor the season's arrival, we headed out to our local u-pic farm on Monday, as we have for three years now, for a strawberry picking jubilee! It's become an early spring tradition among our clan, and this year five mamas and 13 kiddos gathered to stock up on these sweet, edible jewels.
As I watched my girls and my nephew run through the fields, picking and eating berries with gusto, I realized the depth of this spring ritual. These children now know, on one level or another, that strawberry picking is more than just an outing...
...it marks the turn of a season.
...it offers a connection to a piece of local, fruit-bearing land.
...it yields homemade jam for countless peanut butter sandwiches over the year to come.
...it links them into a community of friends with shared values and interests.
...it deepens our family connection through a shared experience, repeated year after year.
As a mother of young children, so much of my energy and attention is focused on creating rhythms and rituals that will bring comfort, joy, beauty and unity to the individual and collective lives of my family. So when a tradition like this develops organically, weaving its way into the rhythm of our year without my intention, I can't help but notice just how sweet it is!