The view from the blackberry patch

Blackberry season is in full swing. I’m not a big fan of cake, so for my birthday I decided to make pies. Blackberry pies. Do you know how long it’s been since I got out and picked them from anywhere but the produce aisle?

In my neighborhood, drivers actually have to slow down near the bigger bramble patches, because you never know when someone with a plastic container is going to step out onto the road, so focused on the next ripe berry that they forget to look. And “where are they ripening this week?” is a common question when neighbors meet each other while walking their dogs. Even the chickens have gotten into it, heading for the bramble in our backyard and checking to see whether the ones they can reach are ripe yet.

My neighbor came and got me early in the morning, and off we went to a prime patch he’d discovered the day before. In the half hour it took to pick 8 cups of blackberries for my pies, I had time to slow down and think about what I was doing. And I decided that that big old hill of brambles had something to tell me.

  1. No matter how much you have, there’s always something better just out of reach. Decide whether it’s worth the pain, come up with an approach strategy, and go for it.
  2. There’s nothing wrong with low-hanging fruit, unless there are a lot of dogs.
  3. Sometimes the best fruit is hidden by leaves. Don’t be afraid to slow down and really look.
  4. Prickles are inevitable. Arm yourself in advance and you won’t feel them.
  5. Be prepared to succeed. Don’t short yourself with a small container.
  6. You can see lots by looking down. But don’t forget to look up and see what’s there, too.

There’s nothing so good as a pie you gathered the fruit for yourself. On Tuesday I’ll post my no-fail blackberry pie recipe!

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