Yesterday was a ‘simply enjoy summer’ kind of day. I always say that living where I do is like having a cottage built right in to my year round home. I know sometimes I don’t get the full cottage effect because I keep too busy. Relaxing comes in small doses and I took some of those doses yesterday. I visited with a friend chatting on my back veranda. I had just been for a delightful swim and was still dripping wet. Later I stretched out on the veranda and read. I ate my lunch on the back veranda. Burton and I sat out for a long while watching the sunset and letting the coolness creep in to the evening. In between all that I mowed a bit of the lawn. I cleaned the weeds out of a long row of carrots. I picked raspberries and made a delicious raspberry dessert. Picking those raspberries brought back so many memories. We used to have a big raspberry patch until a few years ago when a blight of some kind forced us to cut them down. The spot is now cow pasture but on the edge of the pasture bushes have grown and we now have lots of raspberries for our own use. I used to pick and sell most of the month of August. Busy July days of weeding were replaced with busy August days of picking raspberries and taking them to customers. My sister in law Louisa took flats into work and sold them. In the summer of 2006 I made enough off my raspberries to pay for campsites all along the trip I took with my friends Paul and Alice. We traveled across the states and then up into Alberta. When I got back from that trip I settled down to write The Year Mrs. Montague Cried, having taken a deferred leave giving me that school year off. I knew my raspberry patch like the back of my hand. I knew exactly where the fruit hung the thickest. I very methodically picked each row. I could usually predict how many boxes I would get from each row and would watch the season ebb and flow. I would crank up the radio which was of course tuned to CBC and devote much of the day to picking those bushes clean. Sometimes the drone of voices coming from the radio would be replaced by the music of The Grateful Dead and I would know that Caleb was coming to help his mother pick (on his father’s orders)I loved those hours in the raspberry patch. I had time with my youngest son , maybe a friend or family member that stopped by to pick or just time alone to think and in the end a bit of spending money for my efforts. The years come and go. So much changes but some things stay the same. August feels very different than it did when I held on to each day knowing that school would soon start and my summer would be over. I now look ahead to writing and will return to my desk when the teachers return to their classrooms. But these are still the sweet days of summer and just as the picking of raspberries turned into a delicious dessert I served after the salmon and fresh vegetables of last night’s Sunday supper the memories of this one when mixed with the memories of all the summers before will taste just as sweet.