I am not a sentimental man. No matter what you may have heard, or read on my own blog, that states otherwise….
If you grew up where I did, you will know that blackberries are evil. Not the berries themselves, but the plants. Insidious, nasty, thorn covered things that inundate creeks, are impossible to eradicate, and dry in the winter to become spiny, cable like, instruments of torture just waiting to snare a small child on a bicycle. I’ve spent hours upon hours cutting them, bulldozing them (OK, running a Cat as a 14 year old was some cool shit), slashing them with a saw blade equipped weed eater (the big, full harness kind).
If you spent hours in the woods, as my mother was more than happy that I did, and were thirsty, it was always a nasty ordeal to get water. Every creek was surrounded by the nasty buggers. You’d slash your legs bloody, rip flesh from your hands, just to get close to the cool water you so craved. On this I’m not exaggerating. Those bushes are fucking nasty.
But if you could get past wading into the morass of thorns, late in the summer, you could fill buckets upon buckets of black, sweet, succulent berries. Sugar and goodness that dripped black-purple stains on every t-shirt you owned.
The local farmer’s market has a berry stand. There are no thorns to get to this stand. They accept cash and credit cards, and they have the most amazing blackberries. Sure, they are organic, but who cares about that?
I buy an obscenely priced box every weekend, and, just for a minute, I’m 14 again. Well, I’m an easy 70 pounds heavier (thank God!), but it’s 110degrees. I’m sweating and hot and have nowhere else to be. It’s dry as hell, the ponderosa pines are scenting the air, the ground is baked to a crisp brown, the creek is gurgling at it’s late summer low water level with it’s fresh, clear goodness, and those sweet, delicious berries are providing the sugar of life.
And then my youngest daughter steals half the damned box, destroying my reverie.
That bone deep heat, that fresh off the vine goodness, that scent of pine in the scorching hot air…..
Just as long as I don’t have to pick them. But I am not sentimental. Don’t even think it.