Tag Archives: blackberries

Winter Rest?

I look out my bedroom window and see a row of newly-planted blackberries. The wooden posts are easily three times the height of the twigs that promise fruit in the spring. They’re surrounded by browned-up leaves and it’s hard to imagine the spring of 2014 on November 11, 2013.

A few days ago, one of my tenth-graders asked me, “Do you like your job?”, and I was caught off guard because a student has never asked me that before.

“Yes, I do,” I said, and it was true. I left out the part about “You guys drive me crazy!” and “There’s so much stuff behind the scenes – so much planning – you people have no idea!”, because really, I do love my job. She looked at me, her head cocked in cheeky questioning, because I don’t think she believes it possible to like school. Who knows? I might get her to change her mind come spring.

I’ve counted down the days to Christmas and it scares me how quickly it will come and go and I’ll be unceremoniously shoved into 2014.

The musical will go up in mid-December. I’ll be consumed with writing my unit for grad school, writing a research paper, directing Aladdin, Jr. with patience and creativity (yes, yes? right? patience?), and then *blink!* Christmas, and unless I get my act together, my family will suffer from lack of planning and “I love you, but I’m sorry! Shopping is hard for me! Sorry!”

(Maybe I write these posts as a warning? “Heads-up, guys, my gifts might be less-than-awesome”? Or perhaps as a way to force myself to plan enough time to get just. the. right. gift. Either way, I hope it works.)

The girls have slowed down as the days are shortening – we only get about eleven eggs a day, which is barely enough to fill our orders. I coax them with sweet singing, but alas, they are stubborn old birds. The light in the henhouse extends the day, but there’s something about the cold they just don’t like.

This is what is running through my mind as I look at the bare twigs out my window. Not much is expected of them right now: just lie there, dormant. Come April, though, little leaves will unfurl and a winter’s worth of rest will fill my belly with sweetness.

I may not have a whole winter, but I do have today.

Good Things #13: Blackberries and Wine

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.]