We were walking home from a wine tasting. It was around 6:30 – half an hour past the time they closed – and the sun was still bright. There they were, dangling in greenness along the road, little deep purple berries.
Who cares about poison ivy?
We filled our plastic containers to the top (I filled mine a little over the top and they spilled, rolling along the pavement), and ran back to the house to get more. The berries were everywhere and I couldn’t believe they were untouched. How many children had walked by without venturing into the patch? How many parents had scolded the children who would have?
By the time we were done, we had roughly six quarts, and refrigerators aren’t made for holding so many.
What do you do with six quarts of blackberries at 10:30 at night?
You concoct ways to sell them the next morning at the farmers’ market.
It wasn’t until I stood in the sunlight Sunday morning, the berries proudly displayed in handmade paper-plate-and-staple-pints, that I saw the scratches all over my body. Arms and legs pink and scraped; the thorns had hurt while I was picking, but I’d hoped nothing would come of them. Here I was at the market, looking a lot more like I did when I was seven and eight, little bruises and scrapes on my summer-time calves.
This is the dichotomy of my life right now: I went to a fancy wine tasting and tried five different reds, and then scrambled through blackberry bushes like a child, gleeful at our find, slipping and nearly falling down the steep ditch along the side of the road.
I was still wearing the Ann Taylor Loft dress I’d worn to the tasting. It got caught in the thorns and is probably worse for the wear.
The Good Thing for this day? Feeling okay with switching roles in a matter of seconds.
I am a teacher.
I do midnight runs to the 24-hour McDonald’s.
I sing at weddings.
I dance like a crazy person during the reception.
I long for my own home where I can share my homegrown food and love.
I can’t imagine being anywhere than where I am right now.
I smile and sell honey to strangers.
I trip and drop a box filled with jars, the honey oozing through the bricks, the glass shimmering in the sun.
[He gave the rest of the blackberries to the vendor next to us. Her eyes lit up with joy as I watched from my car. My sister and I finished ours in a blackberry-peach sangria. I’ll probably go back in a day or two because jam is delicious and the idea of them rotting off the stems haunts me.]