Early this morning I went back to the blackberry patch. On the way, a rabbit hopped off when I stopped and rolled down the car window. A second one froze in the grass beside the road. At the patch, I stopped the car and got out. A crow overhead in the pecan tree complained about my intrusion, before flying off and leaving me to my thoughts.
A good friend recently invited me to pick blackberries on their property, in another location, and as as a disclaimer, told me that most of the berries in the front were gone, and I'd have to get into the brambles to get any volume. I had always thought that was one of the Rules of the Blackberry Patch. The best berries are always just out of reach, and when I occasionally venture back into that thorny prison, it seems entirely possible that I'll never emerge. As with most things of value, those sweet berries come with a price. And I wonder, are blackberries sweeter because of the thorns? At least this time I was smart enough to take Don's advice and wear my fingerless weight lifting gloves to protect the backs of my hands, and they worked like a charm.
The patch is overgrown with vegetation, with sycamore and sassafras, pokeweed and pecan. As I pushed my way into the thicket, sassafras leaves, like large mittens, soaked my hair and clothes with yesterday's raindrops. From just out of sight, a deer snorted, and ran away. I picked a good mess of berries (not to mention a few stink bugs and a preying mantis), stored away the memory of a refreshing morning in the woods, and returned home. Some of the berries went to the freezer, and some on our breakfast cereal, and from this vantage point, I can say that my incarceration was definitely worth it. Parole can be sweet.