The golden rays of the sinking sun slanted down through the treetops as we worked our way carefully along the brushy edges of the narrow lane, searching. There were no buckets present; this excursion was not for duty or mass accumulation, but sheer enjoyment. We ate them as fast as we found them, fingers soon stained with streaks of red. It was an evening for one of summer’s best simple joys: picking wild raspberries.Excursions to the local u-pick berry patches with their neatly mulched rows and abundant berries are a yearly tradition that I love and look forward to. Earlier this week, I brought home buckets full of blueberries; a couple weeks ago, it was buckets full of strawberries. But there’s nothing quite like venturing out into the woods to find them growing wild. You know—where the value of the berries acquired is in direct relationship to the amount of scratches on your ankles and arms, the number of mosquitoes and deer flies swatted, and the quantity of burrs stuck to your clothing and hair. And where you may go searching only to find that the bears have beat you to them, like they or some other hungry four-footed creature did to my secret gooseberry patch last week! Though thankfully (or would that be regretfully?) I have never had the pleasure of actually meeting a bear while out picking!
But the rewards of your labor are berries with flavor that no cultivated varieties can ever quite manage to live up to. Entirely worth the trouble. And, like I said, best eaten straight off the bush.
“And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food”…And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.” (Genesis 1:29, 31)
With the memory of sweet-tart sun-drenched berry juice fresh on my mind, yet again, I have to agree.