Liz Marchi: Picking Raspberries


This has been a different summer for us at the ranch. We usually have a busy schedule of golf games, dinners, lake time and playing with our “summer friends.”  This summer has been quieter. Friends have had medical issues, decided to downsize properties and we lost a ranch hand so Jon and I have pitched in. It’s been a good summer; less time in the car, more time in garden and on the deck and fewer dinner parties.  We have had some wonderful guests at the ranch and it’s been fun to share the unique place we live.

David  Brooks, one of my favorite writers in the world, spoke in Missoula a few weeks ago on the need for Cultural Change in America.  If you don’t read David Brooks, you should. He is thoughtful, brilliant, author of many books on issues like character, a professor at Yale and a columnist for the New York Times.  He shared many, many words of wisdom based on his enormous grasp of history, personal experiences and years as an observer and lover of American life, political and otherwise. The most meaningful message of the night for me was finding purpose in the situation you are in regardless of the circumstance.  He told a great story of a psychologist who was interned in a Nazi concentration camp. Rather than succumb to the horror of the situation, he made it his purpose to observe and study each prison and how they dealt with their situation. He was lucky enough to be liberated and become a world renowned expert on resilience.  

My Garden. Photo by Liz Marchi.

The message for me was finding the purpose in my circumstance. As I age, I know that patience has never been my strong suit.  I am finding with grandchildren, aging parents and spouse, patience serves me well. As I seek patience, I realize how I have been in too big a hurry and much too busy for a very long time.  This summer has been an exercise in patience. I don’t return all my calls in 24 hours. I don’t schedule anything without asking my spouse and I have learned to say no.

Raspberries. Photo by Liz Marchi.

The greatest reward for me in my modicum of new found patience is picking raspberries.  If you are a gardener and grow your own raspberries, you know there are few sweeter or more wonderful tastes in the world than a fully ripened raspberry off the vine.  It has taken me all summer to patiently pick a bowl of raspberries. They are thorny, they grow on the bottom of the vine, if you try to pick too many at a time you crush them or drop them.  I have gotten stung twice picking raspberries and not going slow enough to avoid the bees or wait until later in the day. Sometimes the smallest achievement represent the biggest goal. Patience has made me a better raspberry picker.  

Summer is ending. Photo by Liz Marchi.

Time in the garden is waning, new challenges await.

Liz Marchi



Liz-MarchiLiz Marchi lives on a ranch in Polson, Montana  with her husband Jon. She is the Fund Coordinator for the Frontier Angel Fund and spends a lot of time thinking and learning about entrepreneurs, the economy and Montana’s unique place in the world. She has three daughters and a stepson and daughter and a grandchild.  She graduated from Hollins College and is entering the final quarter of life…unless we go into overtime.