In the Heat of Summer

Dawn is breaking on another summer day in Kansas. Wisps of cloud belie the reality that it will reach about 100 degrees later today. The last days have been hot; really beautiful Kansas summer days when it is pleasant until about 10am then the heat starts to hit you. Out in the bramble the plants stand verdant and defiant, having soaked up the week’s heat and done nothing but smile and produce more berries. The berries are the kind of sweet and plump that only these dog days can produce, and with the last flush of ripening heavy on the bushes the trellises are sagging with the immense weight of walls of ripe berries.

It is 6:45 as I leave my office, going to prepare the berry ferry for another day of joyful service as we ferry families, ladies, and little children out into a world where the summer heat is not destroying something but rather creating a world… a world where long rows of ripe berries will take your breath away.

I walked into the bramble at 3pm yesterday thinking that the shimmering heat would make the plants cringe a bit or the berries droop. I was again amazed to stand in the midst of a wonderland. Each year harvest in the bramble pulls me in. I heard a guest say “It’s very hard to walk away from those bushes,” and I agree. I guess that after eight years of getting to know bramble bushes my love for them is no longer the vivacious passion of youth, but it is mellowing into something more. It lives for about four weeks a year during the harvest, and then pines and longs for the other 11 months while we train, prune, care for and wait expectantly for the world to be remade and for the aisles again to hang black and heavy in summers heat.

The bramble is an amazing part of summer. We are so thankful to be able to share it with all the children, and all the families that have chosen to make it part of their tradition of summer. I am off, off to the Bramble.

George Elder

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