Four years ago, Mike and I were driving around on the back roads with the windows down enjoying the afternoon. I spotted a bush on the side of the road and realized it was a blackberry bush. I began looking and realized there were blackberry bushes everywhere! And they were covered in blooms.
I hadn’t picked blackberries since I was a very small child so I told Mike that we needed to come back when they were ripe and pick. He looked at me like I was speaking Greek. In his defense, I am not particularly fond of traipsing about in 95 degree heat so he thought I was kidding. I finally made him realize I was serious. I reminded him that blackberry cobbler is my favorite dessert! So we made a plan to come back in a few weeks and pick blackberries.
Life happened and we forgot. By the time we remembered, the blackberries were gone. We made a promise that NEXT summer we would remember.
Fast forward a year, thoughts of blackberries were not dancing through my head. I’d completely forgotten our promise. One afternoon Mike came home and told me that he’d been scouting blackberry bush locations and had found the mother lode. He informed me that they weren’t quite ready, but next week I needed to clear up an afternoon for berry pickin’. A week later we were in the woods, colanders in hand braving the berry thicket. That first afternoon we picked a large colander filled to the rim with the largest blackberries I’d ever seen.
We bragged about our haul to Mike’s mom and offered to take her the next week to our honey hole! She jumped at the chance. And so began what we hope will continue to be a family tradition. We’ve headed to the woods with our family the last three years on a mission. We load up in the truck with our 5 gallon ice cream buckets in pursuit of the prize. Operation Blackberry 2009 and 2008 were resounding successes. and this year was no exception.
A friendly competition always ensues…who really is the supreme berry picker? Truthfully, not Claire or me! Firstly we eat too many and always end up with way fewer berries than anyone else and we tend to stay on the edges of the berry thicket. Mike and his Mom are probably the winners with his Dad a close second. They will bail off into the thicket in pursuit of the big guys!
Mike’s brother joined us this year. I think he may give them a run for their money for the title!
Mike and I brought home two large colanders of berries this year. I put up 25 cups of blackberries. I didn’t count how many cups I put away into my stomach!
It’s become one my favorite things we do together. A slightly dorky, very country thing to do but one I treasure.
It occurred to me that life is kind of like a blackberry.
Not everyone enjoys them. Not everyone enjoys their life.
Blackberries have small hard pits in them that you have to be aware of when consuming them. Life has some small hard times that you have to be aware of.
Blackberries are sometimes sweet and sour at the same time. Life is often sweet and sour at the same time.
Blackberries must be inspected and cleansed of insects and debris. My life regularly needs inspections and culling of debris.
Blackberries can only be acquired when we push through the thorns in the thicket. We are truly alive when we’ve pushed through the thorns the thicket of life puts in our path.
Blackberries sweetness is complimented when they are added to a cobbler and placed in a hot oven. Life often becomes sweeter when we find ourselves surviving the fire.
So, maybe your life is like a bowl of cherries…..but mine, it’s a colander of blackberries.