Sunday, August 17, 2008

Picking Blackberries


On one of my urban-hike routes, there are blackberry bushes, hence blackberries. It is August, and humid; therefore, the blackberries are ripening.

I happen to be a veteran blackberry-picker, having picked berries in my youth in the Sierra Nevada, where the blackberries ripen rather late, as late as September, just barely ahead of the frost and the snow.

Poets like to write poems about blackberries, for some reason. For some reason, I've never gotten a poem I like out of the blackberry subject. But that's okay. Blackberries are enough.

Picking blackberries is most satisfying to the single-minded, persons vaguely driven, determined, perhaps a wee bit compulsive. One must ignore how lonely the first berry looks in the container. One must be ready to experience minor thorn-damage on one hand. (one must never wear gloves.) The technique I prefer is to load up one hand with several berries, retrieve the hand, and dump the harvest in the container. But it's not good to get too greedy with one handful.

The more one picks, the more one sees additional ripe berries. It's some kind of Zen thing, I think.

One mustn't eat any berries until late in the game. It's not professional. Also: delayed gratification.

Not-quite-ripe berries don't want to come loose, but you can use them to pull the vine closer to you.

Soon the container is heavy and full, black and gleaming. The image of a pie, or simply berries in cream, materializes.

Blackberries are enough.
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