Romance in raspberries

Lovely sweet berries buried in the prickers.

Lovely sweet berries buried in the prickers.

Almost every evening for the past several weeks I go out and pick black raspberries from my hedgerow. It’s the best black raspberry crop I’ve ever seen as the mix of rainy monsoon and hot, humid weather agrees with the delectable little fruit. I have a gallon size freezer bag almost full with berries now and I add at least a half quart every time I go picking.

As I pick the berries, my mind wanders and I think about how picking berries resembles navigating the unpredictable path of romance. There are raspberries at the very edge of the hedgerow that are easy to pick and involve no danger of being scratched. But some of the best raspberries are hidden beneath leaves or buried back among the prickers. Someone who doesn’t want to make the effort will leave the best berries among the prickers, not wanting to risk getting hurt or tangled up in the stems. But someone who sees the potential of those sweet berries will brave anything to get them whether it be prickers, mosquitoes, deer flies, unseen holes in the ground, spiders, beetles or bees. When they’re really lucky and persistent, they even find rare berries of a different color.

Finding golden raspberries is a nice treasure.

Finding golden raspberries is a nice treasure.

I pick all the viable berries I see. I end up scratched, bitten and usually sweaty. I’ve even been rained on a few times. I’m not afraid of making the extra effort and I’m a smidge stubborn and quite tenacious. Not everyone is like me though. It seems nowadays more people are willing to settle for the easy to reach berries, the “he/she isn’t really what I want but they’re there and they like me so they’ll do.” It seems difficult to find the ones that are willing to see past all the overgrown bushes and brave the prickers for the better berries, the “he/she has a tough exterior, has been through some rough stuff and is going to take some effort but to me they’re worth it!”

I know it’s a bit peculiar that I think of all this while I’m picking black raspberries but I do and I imagine that other writers understand. Writers and those with the creativity bug see the world differently than others. We see beyond what’s in front of our eyes, we see inside it, we explore its potential in unique ways and we seek to reveal new dimensions of imagination to the world. I see my wild, daydreaming, hopelessly optimistic and endlessly romantic mind as a great blessing and I’ll never stop expanding upon its abilities.

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Berries and Bravery

Black raspberries ready to be picked!

Black raspberries ready to be picked!

The black raspberries are ripe early this year. I imagine it’s from the non-stop rain we’ve been getting around here. I love black raspberries and it’s hard to stop picking them once I start. The thing about black raspberries though is that they grow on pickers and are surrounded by lots of underbrush, tall grass and weeds. It’s always hot when I’m picking them so I’m dressed in shorts and a tank top. This means I inevitably get scratched somewhere or other but that doesn’t deter me. The sweet reward of those berries is worth the sweat, scratches and hard work. The same is true for more than just berries.

I’m not known to take the easy route. I do occasionally get stuck in a rut and trudge along with the status quo but that never gets me where I want and need to be. I have some really big dreams I know I can accomplish but it will take bravery, determination, persistence and a bit of stubbornness. ¬†Giving up on those dreams is like giving up on berry picking the first time a pricker pokes my finger. My tender fingertips can attest to the fact that I keep going for more berries.

Gloves would protect my fingers from the prickers but trying to pick berries with thick leather gloves makes no sense. Berries need a tender touch or they get squished. Dreams can be the opposite though. Sometimes grabbing onto dreams tightly is the only way to achieve them and to protect them so others can’t squish my pursuit of them.

When I first started picking black raspberries this afternoon, I only saw a few clumps here and there. As I continued searching I found more and more until the bowl I chose was overflowing and I had to get a second one. Amazing how pursuing one little thing can grow into something so plentiful and rewarding…

Fruits of my labor.

Fruits of my labor.