I thought my favorite blueberry bush was a goner.
This was after one of those terrible end-of-winter storms, when heavy wet snow and brutal winds knocked down trees and power lines all over the place. After I trudged up a hill through snow strewn with bent and broken birch and pine trees, I saw the blueberry bush — the one that was always jam-packed with the sweetest, darkest berries — smashed almost as flat as, well, a blueberry pancake. The branches that once rose about six feet tall and just as wide were pinned down in the snow by at least a foot of the white stuff.
Try as I might to loosen them from the snow's icy grip, the branches wouldn’t budge — unless I broke them, which I wouldn’t do. The few I did manage to loosen did not spring up.
I thought I would have to kiss the blueberry bush goodbye.
As I said, this wasn’t any old blueberry bush. It had sentimental value.
It was in the center of what my wife and I named blueberry hill when we moved to our home in Bethel some 17 years ago. Not only did it yield the best, tastiest berries, it sat atop a hill where we would sit, picnic and enjoy a view that stretched for miles.
That bush was so special, I even learned a lesson about life from it.
I learned that even if it seems like you’ve picked all of the berries from the bush, you shouldn’t despair. If it looks like you've exhausted the berries after circling the bush in one direction, you should just stop and move around it in the other direction. With a new perspective, you’ll find berries hidden under leaves that you’ve missed on the first go round. The moral is, of course, that you shouldn’t close yourself off to other views and see life through blinders. Your life will be enriched if you open yourself up to as many perspectives — and people — as possible.
Was there a new lesson to be learned from my smushed blueberry bush?
Perhaps it was a sad one: That all things must pass. Or, as the Bible, Pete Seeger and the Byrds say: “To everything there is a season.”
So, as winter eased into spring and the snow finally disappeared, revealing all of the countless trees and bushes that had been battered by the storms, I decided to face reality. I walked up the hill to see the damage to my favorite blueberry bush.
I did a double take when I saw it was still standing. Not only that, all of the branches were intact. And as the weather warmed and leaves began to grow from the branches, delicate pink/white flowers blossomed and green berries began to form.
Then, on a cool morning after last week’s blistering heat, I again walked up to blueberry hill. I couldn’t believe what I saw. The other blueberry bushes still had their green baby berries, but my favorite bush — the one that I thought was a goner — was the only one bursting with blueberries. Not just any berries, but the biggest, bluest, tastiest ones it had ever produced.
And I realized that once again, the blueberry bush had taught me a lesson.
As broken or battered as life may seem, we have the capacity to bounce back.
We can learn from the adversity of life’s storms and, like that blueberry bush, stand up stronger than ever.