Late last summer I took the kids for an evening drive and we ended up on the top of a mountain. There were people up there, wandering among the clouds with buckets, and as we sailed past them the kids, with their faces pressed against the windows, realized they were picking blueberries. They begged for me to stop so they could walk along the cliffs like goats and breathe the fresh thin air and collect blue jewels like the other mountain visitors. I agreed. We spent about an hour dancing carelessly across the rocks and tumbling into each other, laughing in hypoxia induced delirium. We only found a single shriveled blueberry.
I promised them we would return to this blue heaven the next year. They never forgot. Clara has talked about it constantly for the entire year.
So, expectations were pretty high a few nights ago when we happened to be driving up into the mountains again and the kids, with their faces pressed against the windows, saw angels in the clouds with buckets of blueberries.
It was early in the season this time, and I warned the children that we might not find anything more than what we found last year. But I pulled over, opened the doors and released the kids like doves into the surrounding hillside.
About ten minutes later we found a single blueish looking berry. It was sour and firm, but well worth the journey. Then about 45 seconds later we found another one, hiding under the leaves of a nearby bush. Then we found two more on a bigger plant on the other side of the narrow dirt trail. Now my family understood what blueberry plants looked like, and we were each wandering off in different directions finding berries like Easter eggs hidden in the weeds along the steep hillside.
In about a half hour we each had stuffed our faces with several fists full of berries, and my children came rolling down the mountain, happy with purple stained mouths and knees.
Clara was ecstatic, “It happened!” she yelled, “I can’t believe we found them! I prayed for God to give us just ONE blueberry, and then we found it. So, I said, ‘Okay, how about five?’ and then ‘could we maybe find ten?’ and then I just lost count because he gave us more and more and more and more, everywhere we looked!”
I smiled, and placed my hand on her shoulder and helped her step over a large rock which she was too excited to have noticed. Maybe we really had passed through some veil and had entered into a quiet garden on the northern slopes of Heaven? Maybe, without even realizing it, we had stumbled through a small back gate to the Garden of Eden that God had left winkingly unlocked, just for the sake of my children? Either way. He was there in the hills that night handing out fruit. And for that I will be forever thankful.