Sunday, July 22, 2012

The urge to migrate began in the wild berry patch

Image: World migration patterns: Liu Institute for Global Issues, UBC

There's a human tendency expressed by the common English proverb: the grass is always greener in another pasture.  I'd be willing to bet that many languages have similar sayings. There seems to be an innate desire in us to keep moving in search of better conditions.

For me, it all started with berry picking. Teacup in hand, I ventured into the wild berry patch with my mother and sister to help them harvest enough berries for a pie.

My approach was to rove from bush to bush, seeking raspberries that were riper and more delicious than the ones at the place I was currently picking.

My sister, three years older, was better at harvesting. "Stick to your bush," she would say. When I didn't comply, she made up a song about picking all the berries in one place before moving on.

That worked in the short term, but the lure of the less familiar eventually prevailed. Once I was old enough to go berry picking alone, or with my younger brother, we felt no compunction about straying from one bush to another, picking a few berries from each, then moving on in search of the proverbial greener pastures.

Was this the beginning of my urge to see the world? I left my hometown before I was eighteen, and settled in Vancouver, first in the city, then the suburbs. With only brief absences, I've lived here ever since. But I have seen many distant places and hope to see many more.

Even though I feel well-rooted, especially in the seasons when the garden is best, there is always the latent urge to explore, to taste new experiences. The human is a migrant creature, and I'm no exception.

No comments:

Post a Comment