Friday, August 7, 2009

Picking & Choosing (Berry Moon)

Gentle, grey day today, changeable but constant. I just got in from picking raspberries. Rather remarkably, the only sound this evening is the wind in the trees, the high rustle of popple, the low rush of and then a loon, a squirrel.

The raspberry patch is thriving this summer, abundant with fat tasty fruits. Earlier this spring I pruned back all the canes to around three feet, and about ten canes per row foot (rows about eighteen inches wide). The four rows that were transplanted two seasons ago are now five to six feet tall and fruiting heavily. The remainder of the patch was transplanted last year and is still only two to three feet high and bearing little fruit, but growing into their new space; the rows are thin but the few empty spots should quickly fill in. We've given up quite a lot of berries to the birds, in spite of their being (somewhat haphazardly) covered with netting, but even so I picked a couple quarts on Monday, mom picked another pint or two on Tuesday, with another pint coming in today. If next year follows on this one we'll have a veritable crapload of raspberries on our hands. I'm thinking berry wine, berry mead, berry cider...

It could just be the primeval gatherer in me, but there's something compelling about picking berries, something that has perhaps more to do with finding them than with popping them in your mouth (although I've had raspberries for dinner twice now this week, rather unintentionally foregoing those plump yellow patty pans), something more to do with admiring a deep bowlful of red ripeness than crushing it with your tongue (mine, now a bit raspberry-acid-burnt)... I've always sort of felt that berries--raspberries, in particular--are something akin to Sun-drops, ancient as rubies, fragile as hearts, inspiring a sense of prolific, perpetual potential in each multi-faceted seed of memory, the architecture of our summer igloos. What seemed attached comes free, what seemed full opens with possibilities...a thimble, a hat, a fairy's cup from which to drink the darkness of the Moon, when she pours... Our small arms learn to find a way among thorns, our small hands receive blessings. There is food for the Child.

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