Did you ever think about how programmed we are in life? From birth we are programmed by our parents, our families, our friends, our relationships, society, the media, the world and even our pets.
This morning like every morning I got up at 5:35am and followed my programmed morning ritual. I slide out of bed, grab my old flannel shirt, glide down the stairs and start my coffee. Next I feed the dogs, open all the shutters and the windows, then pour myself a large over-sized mug of black java and sit on the bench to quietly go through my day in my mind. All of the aforementioned tasks were done effortlessly, because I am programmed.
However, in the silence of this morning, I noticed that the birds were squawking unusually loud. So I steady my cup of joe, rose to my feet and lumbered out to the back deck. I strained to focus my eyes to the early morning light, in order to survey the yard for the neighbor’s cat. Maxie, I’ve noticed likes to set up post under the seed feeders, in hope of catching an unsuspecting meal. However, I didn’t see her or signs of her, so I glanced across my empire.
My suburban sprawl, all 3/4 of an acre is filled with seed feeders and bird houses to invite birds of a feather, to flock together, to chatter at the crack of dawn. As the day filled with light I watched as the gold finches and the sparrows flew from feeder to feeder, squinting my eyes at the light. I stopped my gaze on my small patch of strawberries next to the gray stone wall. They have dropped their white petals now and the flowers were swelling with what would soon be beautiful red berries.
“Ahhh, fresh strawberries” I thought, for me there is nothing that signals the start of summer like picking fresh strawberries. Memories of going to the farm up the road, to pick containers of fresh berries flooded my mind . Most evenings in June for more years than I care to recall, I was programmed to go to the farm to pick and carry home enough strawberries for breakfasts, short cake, on ice cream or if it was a good year, enough to make jam. The big red strawberries were always warm from soaking in the sun, they were sugary sweet and begging to be tasted.
I’ll honestly admit, I’d eat as many as I picked and quite frankly, much more than I should. It takes an incredible amount of strawberries and self control to turn those sweet, savory berries into jam and that programming I never received. My actions were clearly a case of gluttony, number 3 on the list of the Seven Deadly Sins, but I had always escaped retribution. Like so many things that we love and look forward to, the season for fresh strawberries is short, so you have to fill up on them, while you can.
As I watched the sun climb higher in the sky, I thought about strawberry season and compared it to the seasons of life. Both would progress quickly, and as quickly they go. Like fresh strawberries, the sweetest moments in life will blossom into beautiful, delicious events, that will fill you with warm, sweet, loving memories as it leaves you longing for more. As programmed as we’ve become, we must take a few moments each day to bask in life’s light, savoring the beauty around us. So program yourself to take time in your life. Soak up the sun and savor sweet moments, for one day, before we know it, our program and seasons will end.

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