the way of the blackberry
I was on my way home the other day and noticed a big red truck (with an american flag) parked on the side of the fairly busy through road. Curious, I slowed a bit, and as I passed I saw a tough looking young man, fully garbed in cowboy boots and tight jeans, picking blackberries into a bucket. The next day, I drove by the same patch and saw an older latino woman picking from the same patch. The images have stuck with me, and I've been musing over what might occur if these two people found each other picking berries at the same time.
This plant calls us to her - regardless of ethnicity, class, race, or political stance. Blackberry - or Rubus armeniacus - speaks to us all in a way that goes deeper than all those identities. Everybody. loves. blackberries. And the store bought really can't compare to the hand picked, like some other berries. Everyone knows this, so much so that we'll pull off the side of a busy road to pick from a good stand, regardless of our skin color, legal status, or religious beliefs.
I see blackberry as a weaver of worlds. Animals come from all over to harvest her little jewels - birds, bears, coyotes, goats, humans. And though you may think of those thorns as a signal to stay away, when I'm picking I get all tangled up in the thorns that seem to reach around me for clothes to snag. It's almost as if she's pulling me closer, asking me to be a part of the whole (even if it is a little painful at times). Perhaps blackberry is an integral part of the web that connects each of us; the web that most of us only barely sense. And she loves to grow in the most disturbed places made ugly by humans.
The metaphors abound, just go pick some blackberries for yourself. maybe I'll see you in the patch, tangled together, working our way to the ripest fruit.