Grandpa’s Onions

At grandpa’s house, when you want onion rings with your hamburger, you start by walking out to the garden and pulling one from the ground.


The best kind of vacation – the best kind of break – is one that reminds you of the clarifying power of elemental, fundamental things.

The adventure of a road trip, even one you’ve taken many times before; visits with friends and family, in the care of their welcoming hands; grandparents and their rich histories, familiar and distant all at once; eating what has most recently been growing in the garden (and frying it to a perfect golden brown!); and being out of your element just enough to notice how easily being in your element has become.




The Human Paradox

The need for certainty. When we meet this need too well, life becomes predictable, routine and stagnant. We end up sort of dying in place.

The need for variety. When we meet this need too well, life becomes chaotic, an endless chase for the next, the more interesting, the more stimulating. We end up sort of dying on the run.

It’s been a strange summer around our house. Since I set up my business and a home office 6 years ago, summers are always a bit strange – and stressful – for me. Mid-June arrives and the kid’s schedules make a hairpin turn into late nights, later mornings, and just a whole bunch of them being around…like all the time. This summer we have the addition of a college student returning to the nest for a few months. It’s an adjustment for all of us, needless to say.

On top of that, we had no plans for any kind of family trip this year, nothing that required reservations or flights or extended planning, anyway. And with some extended getaways on the calendar this fall an implicit agreement was made to stay put this summer.

But I don’t stay put very well. After a couple of months of the certainty of my daily routine being displaced by the variety of summer’s randomness, I heard myself saying that, “If we don’t plan a getaway, I’m going to take one of my own.” Not as a threat, simply as a statement of need. The familiar has become too familiar and, with the squeeze of three teenagers, the fine attributes of the “staycation” no longer seem so fine.

We’ll be making our way north soon, some expected spots on the itinerary and a few unexpected ones as well. Really, it’s the going that’s the thing. It’s the chance to experience the chance encounters that rarely come unless we set out to meet them. And it’s the knowing that, all being well, we will return to the certainty of a home ready to hold us as we settle in again, anticipating what comes next.

white vehicle traveling on road

Photo by Lukas Kloeppel on

A living organism has the capacity to grow


That includes you and me, of course.

Today’s good.

Tomorrow’s good, too.

But today is better.

It’s summer.

Most everything is in bloom.

Birds have hatched their little ones in a nest on our patio. Back and forth go mom and dad, ferrying food to their offspring. We spied on them when they were still enclosed in blue speckled eggs. Now they are scrawny, hungry and noisy. That’s what growing looks like. What it sounds like.

You start small. The odds are against you. Some people help you. You try some more.

And then one day…one day you are a step closer.

Tomorrow’s good, too.

But today is better.

DAVID BERRY is the author of “A More Daring Life: Finding Voice at the Crossroads of Change” and the founder of RULE13 Learning. He speaks and writes about the complexity of leading in a changing world.

Harvest Time

A “volunteer” fig tree sprung up in our yard this summer. We left it alone, cautiously optimistic that we might get some fruit. It did not disappoint. We picked five or six ripe figs a day for a couple of weeks at the height of summer.

The ones we didn’t pick the birds took care of until we realized that they we’re getting more than their fair share. So, we put a large piece of netting over the tree to keep them at bay.

But the netting also kept us at bay, making it more challenging to get to the ripe fruit on the days we remembered to pick it.

That’s when the fig beetles showed up. Overripe fruit takes them to their happy place and they came in droves to get it.

From across the yard I noticed a dark clump where a green fig had been ripening. Upon inspection that “clump” was the beetles amassed in the photo above. It was impressive to see them make quick work of that mushy piece of fruit.

It got me thinking about the opportunities or ideas I am sometimes slow in acting on, the fruit that ripens in my mind and heart that looks so promising as it grows but becomes more intimidating the closer it gets to harvest time.

“What if I’m not ready?”

“What if nobody gets it?”

“What if it’s not good enough?”

This is what’s true: if you’re ever “ready” you’ve waited too long.

The birds and the beetles will get their fill.

Will you get yours?

DAVID BERRY is the author of “A More Daring Life: Finding Voice at the Crossroads of Change” and the founder of RULE13 Learning. He speaks and writes about the complexity of leading in a changing world.