Sunday, September 4, 2011

In Which I Go Blackberry Picking And Miss A Friend

Connor had two (thankfully short) seizures today, which suggests to us that he's getting back into a seizure cycle.  Oh joy.  We'll probably start him on the lorazepam tomorrow in an effort to keep them at bay until the holiday is over. 

So once again we took the day easy; Jer and I switched off on watching the little guy while we did a few things around the house and ran some errands.  I did have one thing I really wanted to do outside the house though that I'd only be able to do for a couple more weeks, so early in the afternoon I grabbed my largest metal mixing bowl and drove down to post to go blackberry picking.

I was by no means the only one out in the woods today with the same idea; I saw quite a few other people out with buckets collecting or, in a couple of cases, simply picking the berries and eating them straight off the vines.  The berries patch I was headed to today borders a lake, and I've got my own special method of finding the largest, ripest berries even when, like today, the bushes have mostly been picked clean.  I simply pick one of the fishing access spots, kick off my shoes and wade into the lake!  The berries grow right down to the shore and because of all the water they grow at least twice as big as the ones by the trail.  And because they're not easily accessible from anywhere but the lake, no one seems to pick them except for me.  I picked about fifteen cups of berries in an hour, and I was pretty selective about what I was picking-- they didn't go into my bowl unless they were ripe enough that they practically fell into my hand.  And of course every fourth or fifth berry went directly into my mouth.  I had to test them and make sure they were still good, right?

Picking berries at the lake made me a little sad this year; I used to do this all the time with my friend Anna before she moved out of the state and picking by myself just wasn't the same.  I miss the companionship, the lighthearted competition to see who can find the biggest, most perfect berry, and the fun we had at home later canning and cooking so far into the night we labeled our preserves "Midnight Jam."  I haven't found another foraging partner in crime yet, and with fall approaching I'm fast running out of time this season to discover one.  I found myself noticing all sorts of things that would have delighted Anna-- a small cupped nest built out of moss hanging in the tangled berries with a few slivers of delicate ecru eggshell inside, a big patch of wild mint, a pair of green jeweled dragonflies that insisted in landing on my hair-- and wishing she was there to share them with. 

At one of the fishing spots towards the end of the trail I came across a woman who forcibly reminded me of Anna; she had the same lean frame, auburn hair and open, friendly face.  She was sitting on the pebbled shoreline with her knees drawn up to her chest, gazing out across the lake.  She didn't so much as glance in my direction which I took to mean she wasn't interested in chatting, but as I picked I worked up the courage to ask her if she wanted some blackberries.  That little moss nest hid right around the corner; maybe she'd be someone I could show it to. 

I turned around to ask and she was gone.



leah said...

Oh my goodness, I want to go foraging with you! I spent all day Friday canning tomatoes from our garden (and making candy apple jelly, which is not nutritious, but feeds my canning addiction). My poor husband is regretting the garden at the moment, because all I want to do is expand it. And possibly get some chickens (think of the fresh eggs)!

I hope you get some great jam out of those berries. And also that the Lorezapam stops the current seizure cycle for Connor. He needs a break!

Will Richardson said...

Wish I had been there to pick with you. I remember our walk on Post along the path lined with blackberry bushes and the Horned Owl's roosting tree. Your Mom and I sure miss you and your crew!

Julia O'C said...

I hope Anna reads this.

Anna said...

Awwww!!! I miss you too!!! My brother has been promising a teleportation device for years....We should get on him about that. Hugs!!!

Julia said...

What a lovely post (except for the seizure bit -- but that's a recurring theme, so I guess it serves a literary purpose). Your description of the nest was so evocative that I bet Anna felt like she was there looking at it when she read about it.

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