Heidi Of The Mountains is an outdoors type, and this week amidst the whirlwind activity at my gallery, she said, “I have to go to the mountains . . . and soon.” I agreed to stop work, and today, we drove together to a ranch outside of Santa Fe that is renowned for raspberries.
When we arrived around noon, I was surprised to see a dirt parking lot crammed with cars, and looking out to the raspberry field, about 100 people ambling through the rows, buckets in hand, picking berries. We gathered our baskets and set out io the raspberry patch. A field manager took us to a row, and said, “The field has been picked over, especially since so many people were out on Saturday, but look under the leaves along the way here, and you will find berries.” I asked him about the growing season, and he told me the plants would continue replenishing berries for a few more weeks. “By Tuesday, they will all be back” he said. We stepped into the field, and soon, found ourselves each alone in our own meditative space, looking down, concentrated on spotting the ripe, ruby red berries amidst the green leaves and prickly stems.
While picking the berries, it is impossible not to sample the juicy fruit. To taste a freshly plucked raspberry is wonderful. The soft flesh almost melts in the mouth, oozing sweet and slightly tart flavors. The tiny seeds are all that are left to crunch upon before swallowing. In forty-five minutes, the two of us had gathered about 2 ½ pounds, for which we paid $12.00.
After our picking, we went to the quaint ranch café and ordered a slice of raspberry pie, then sat in the shade and shared.
As the sun moved slowly across the afternoon sky, I took my paints and easel out, and while Heidi Of The Mountains stood next to me making a watercolor painting, I captured a scene of an old adobe warehouse standing along the road. Its weathered tin roof pitched at an angle and reflected the bright sky, while the faded stuccoed whitewashed walls stood accented by deep green shrubs, sunflowers, and a few decrepit windows. A grand old tree grew at the end of the building, almost like an exclamation point.
On our way home, Heidi Of The Mountains massaged my head and neck while I drove, saying, “Oh thank-you . . . I had a wonderful day!”