Ask any Czech, at least from Bohemia (Moravians might think differently, but I haven't tested that hypothesis), what he or she did over the weekend, and you will receive, "I went to my cottage and I picked berries," as an earnest and matter of fact response.
At the time, I was in a transition, twenty-six years old, making steps that I invented rather than those that had been invented for me...ages ago...before I had any choice in the matter. Here's another fun metaphor: I was writing my own recipes for success after tossing aside the recipes that had been handed down to me. Wasn't that nice?
I lived in an apartment, waited tables, studied literature in graduate school at the University of Memphis, drank a lot of cheap beer, drank a lot of rum (because I am a pirate), tried cocaine a few times (I get it, but also, no. No, thank you), made out with a writer who thought he had fleas, waited up an extra hour to get McGriddles, shopped at Target, Best Buy, Wal-mart on the frequent, and my favorite shot (as I joyously announced to all who would listen at the bar) was a Red-Headed Slut. I also dyed my hair red. I was a (fuckin') American (girl), and, despite not always being great, life was still...not actually that bad.
Then, mere months later, I was sitting on this patch of grass, listening to this student talk about his passion for public transportation, and it was fascinating. I met a lot of men in Europe, actually, that were enamored with public transportation systems.
He invited me to his garden to pick berries, and everyone giggled when I told them what I was doing after class that afternoon.
He had two cats that lived at the cottage and roamed the rows of raspberry and blueberry bushes, currants, and strawberries. They mastered the branches of the cherry tree and kept a close watch as we climbed ladders to reach and pluck the lovely fruits from the organism that built them.
Oh, and his mom had baked a blueberry pie with blueberries from the garden. And we ate it. All of it.
He didn't ask me a lot about me, and if he did, I usually found an awkward way to spin it back around to effective ways to learn English.
We ate, and we lounged, and we spoke, and we enjoyed the company of two curious kittens.
He took me back to the tram-stop I needed and kissed me in a way that was awkwardly confident...or confidently awkward...if that makes more sense. And that was it.
I knew there had to be something more, and I was seeking it, in desperation. There had to be something better than the monotony of consumption. I cried a lot that second semester of grad school. I was a confused gal (mostly because of Derrida).
If you look for anything, confident that it is possible for you to find it, you will (I'm usually basically just writing euphemisms for all the things Emerson said).
I don't always remember what's important. I get caught up in an excessive amount of what simply boils down to insecurity...aching and sweating, terrified, insecurity.
Then I drop a couple of bucks on a bag of "sold as is" cherries, take a bite of one, and there I am again, at that cottage, full of blueberry pie. And I remember.