We need only look to Nature to understand that “we’re all in this together.” And it is only together that we will thrive.

When I was growing up I would help my grandfather pick his carefully tended raspberries early in the morning. I would feel them in my mouth, still wet and juicy from the morning dew. So many years later I can still step outside early on a summer morning and be right back in his garden.

We have a garden too, with sunflowers hovering over the blueberry patch and hollyhocks tumbling against the walls of our shed. Raspberries and squash, peas and beans, apples and peaches all grow together in worm-filled soil, dense with compost and weeds! Bees hum, rabbits scamper, and birds sing us awake every morning. This is the community my husband and I inhabit all summer long.

I’ve come to appreciate that Summer’s success is a group endeavor and no one succeeds alone. Plants, birds, insects, and I flourish in our shared community through our relationships with one another. And the key is that all of these relationships are reciprocal. The honey bee savors the nectar from the flower, and in turn spreads the plant’s pollen across the land. The squash leaves grow big and wide, protecting from the sun the small insects and worms making room for the squash roots to spread. And, like my grandfather, I plant and I weed. I pick fresh raspberries right from the vine. And, in return, the raspberries bear fruit again. We all give and receive in a never-ending cycle. And to participate means that all of us will thrive.

Summer puts on an abundant display with a wild, creative, productive cast of characters, all doing their part in crafting a community of reciprocal relationships that, together, lift up the whole of Creation. This summer, let Nature show us the way.

This post is excerpted from Bountiful Summer, a selection from my book, After Rain.