I’ve always liked the idea of being strong. Watching super-hero cartoons with my brothers and thumbing through comics as a kid, I quickly learned that muscles were good to have. As soon as I sprouted up to my current height of 5’10”, I realized that I was going to have to accept that I wasn’t meant to be small, or weak. I was built with broad shoulders and big feet, both of which have helped keep me steady over the years. In an immediate family where everyone stands my height or taller, I never really noticed my height. Only through traveling to countries where most citizens were much shorter than I, did I fully understand that I am indeed above average. Never have I embraced my height so much as with the realization that it had the power to help my picking reach soar above and beyond that of others.
Not that I mean to brag. I also went through years where I couldn’t walk up stairs without tripping on each one (my legs didn’t know how long they were). With pants that never reached the floor and sleeves that never reached my wrists (cuffing everything is my secret). However, I’ve discovered that having a job where being able to grasp that one last dangling fruit, is something amazingly rewarding. Where my strong shoulders can easily lift and support the ladders that I drag to and from each pick. My hands can grasp and pluck a full cluster of apples and my legs have become professional ladder climbers.
As the summer wanes and my tan reaches that of burnt umber, I am finding a lot of muscles that weren’t there before. Never have I been so eager to go without shirt sleeves, marveling at the definition that previously had only been possible through a million repetitions at the gym. Not only have my visible muscles been toned, but the big one, the brainy one, has had it’s fair workout as well. I had initially planned to spend my summer in the lap of lazy luxury. Whiling away my days in the air conditioned comfort of my apartment, with my good friend the lap top. I didn’t expect to learn so much or to meet so many people.
My horizons have expanded in so many ways that I find it almost impossible to measure. What I have learned are things that I don’t expect to forget any time soon. Instead of ending the summer feeling as though I need to figure out how to start my engine again, i’m going to coast into the fall with the motor purring. Never have I felt more competent than I do now- even if that mostly has to do with the mastering of ladders. I’ve also never felt stronger, the outdoors proving to be the best gym I could ask for. As the growing season slowly tapers off and I see the light at the end of the picking tunnel, I couldn’t be more appreciative of what this summer has shown me. Mother Nature truly is an amazing teacher.