Pie Seasons

We're looking forward to Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Season here at Yule Love It
The following is an excerpt from Iris's memoir cookbook in progress. 
I pedaled north to the end of the block and eyed the woods at the corner of Wagner and Frazho Streets. From the day we moved to Wagner, that last patch of wilderness spared by development called my name with powerful yearning, the same feeling when I saw the   first mountain range come into view on our drive home to Kentucky. Didn’t my heart leap at what awaited within those timbered hills?
Now I was in fourth grade and knew copperheads and rattlesnakes didn’t live in Michigan. And Mom didn’t say I couldn’t go into the woods alone. Aunt June had said Jack in the Pulpit grew in the forest.
I crossed Frazho and walked my bike into the cool dark scent of moss, bark, and leaf mold. My skin tingled under the thick green canopy, light peeking through in lacy patterns like Granny’s doilies.
Barelegged, I stepped carefully in deep grass, fallen logs, and branches, watching for those prickly blackberry canes that drew my blood in Kentucky. My goodness, did I love Granny’s blackberry cobbler with milk!
Birds flew from one tree to another, chirping real happy. Wagner had not one tree for a bird to perch, so they all came to this oasis. If I were a bird, I’d live in this place and sing, too.
I searched for Jack in the Pulpit. Aunt June said they liked to hide. Camouflage, she named it. The plant’s green and yellow striped flower resembled grasses that grew around it. Although I didn’t find Jack in the Pulpit, I learned what camouflage meant.
My nose led me to a swamp where a huge tree had fallen across. Did I ever want to climb upon it! But moss was slick, and I’d probably fall into the murky green water and drown. The sun broke through an opening in the treetops and glistened on the pond and cast shadows in a hundred shades of green.

Something like a sparkling ruby caught my eye. Rhubarb! Bunches of it in the woods surrounded by concrete. Had I known about Huck Finn, I would’ve felt just like him. I knew not to touch the rhubarb without asking Mom’s permission.
Arms crossed at the kitchen sink, Mom smiled at my discovery. I didn’t tell her about the swamp or she wouldn’t let me go back.
“Yes, Iris. Bring some home and I’ll make a strawberry rhubarb pie. Leave your bike here, and take Linda with you.”
Exhilarated, I led Linda into the woods to the rhubarb patch. We pulled out as many stalks as our arms could hold. All the while, I tasted Mom’s warm strawberry rhubarb pie with vanilla ice cream melting on the side.
Triumphant in muddy school shoes we’d outgrown, we carried our bounty down Wagner, huge leaves bobbing in glad submission to Mom’s recipe.
“Mom! Come look!” I hollered as we turned up our driveway.
She stood in the door and put a hand to her heart. Mind, my mother laughed the most peculiar way when something tickled her soul. I didn’t understand why she laughed until she cried.
Now, I can only surmise she saw something she believed was lost—food from a remnant of a farmstead in the midst of a wasteland. The strength of our joy in that moment has never lost its power. That’s why I grow rhubarb today.
In this manner, I learned Mom’s pie seasons. Spring’s strawberry rhubarb and lemon meringue. Summer’s cherry and blackberry. Fall’s apple and pumpkin. Winter’s pecan and coconut cream.
I developed a hunger to grow my own berries and orchard, to raise hens as my grandmothers did to gather eggs for rich custards and fluffy meringues.
Dear Reader, that’s the way with food. It teaches the growing seasons in an unbroken chain from one generation to another.