In Robin Wall Kimmerer’s book Braiding Sweetgrass, she writes about picking wild strawberries. In Potawatomi, the strawberry is known as ode min – the heart berry. She tells one of their Creation stories which explains how the berries became so called. Skywoman buried her daughter in the earth and the strawberry arose from her heart.
This story made me look on our patch of wild strawberries very differently. One area of our garden is separate from the rest – a triangular patch of semi-wild garden where each year a fine red web spreads across from the mature plants with many young ones somehow managing to thrive in the poorest of ground.
In the past I’ve pulled up many of these, not really appreciating fully the generous crop of tiny succulent berries that they produce – so many that on a hot day the garden smells like strawberry jam.
After reading Robin’s book I now think differently – these heart berries are gifts from the earth and I should be cherishing them.