This year in Munich between snow in April and torrents of rain after, summer arrives with an unfriendly chill delaying summer blooms in the garden, confusing the honeybees and producing untimely harvest. But we endured those dreadful, sunless, soggy days and now although still with a hint of chill in the air we are beginning to have proper summer days here in the capital of Bavaria.One of the small pleasures of living in Munich is being able to partake in countryside activities within city limits. From fishing by the river that flows through the heart of the city to watching shepherds graze their sheep in green pastures and picking your own fruits in harvesting fields – It’s easy to forget we live in the third largest and vastly populated city in Germany after Berlin and Hamburg. Strawberry season here in the south typically begins in May and ends early July however, with the complex weather this year the fruits are just beginning to be gloriously robust. This marks the start of warmer days and we are only too happy to celebrate with countless strolls, cycling, al fresco dining, picnics, marmalade making and of course strawberry picking.
I fill our little baskets with the most divine fruit of all, the sun kissed strawberries that dangles like little exposed hearts under their protective leaves. Picking strawberries is a raw pleasure – passing over the ones still pale and bloodless and those that squish to the touch, plucking only the perfectly luscious ones until my fingers turn pink and the sweet juices stain my white summer blouse. This simple pleasure fills my soul with so much joy that I’m moved to respond with a hymn of gratitude.The breeze is soft and the mild Bavarian heat gently tickles the shallow edge of the lake, warming it just enough to refresh my naked feet. Two yellow butterflies are flirting in midair. I lean back on my old picnic rug – thinking this is where I want to be… this is where I belong – in the small hours of strawberry days.