Tuesday, August 9, 2011

August 9: Blackberries

I led a writers' group up Beech Hill this afternoon, and, being writers, they wanted to know all sorts of interesting things: how my mother is doing (her friend Gail was in the group); what bird was making that noise (towhee); how one harvests blueberries (with rakes, by hand, back-breakingly); the names of various wildflowers in the fields (daisy fleabane was a favorite); what that lighthouse was (Indian Island Light outside Rockport harbor); the purpose of the stone circle overgrown with rugosa rose bushes in front of the stone hut (former bonfire pit), etc.

Being human, they also had their eyes open for ripe blueberries along the trail. Of course, since Coastal Mountains Land Trust hosted a public free pick this past weekend which was attended by hundreds of people also scanning the trailside for berries, pickings were slim. We did, however, come across many low vines loaded down with clusters of blackberries--lots of hard, unripe berries like little red fists.

I have a collection of poems about blackberries; among berries, they hold a special place in my heart for that reason (see my August 3, 2010 post). But what I enjoy most about all berries is eating them. These ruby red jewels will soon burgeon into juicy purple-black fruits. Perhaps the berry-loving cedar waxwings overhead were thinking that same thing. Who doesn't love a blackberry? (Or a blueberry, or a raspberry...) It occurs to me that the berries actually depend on that. They're not that enticing for nothing. Today's red knots of fruit tucked amid stalks of goldenrod and Queen Anne's lace were promises of what's soon to come.

It's all about seeds,
encouraging dispersal.
That's why they taste good.

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