To the ancestral land, to spend the night in the house Papa Joe built, to pick blackberries.
I thought I had written before of the art of picking blackberries but I can't find it. Your hand follows your eye and while your hand goes to what you have just seen, your eyes search for the next. If you can find places where you can "milk" a handful of ripe berries at a time, that is better than picking one at a time. Picking clean is an art in itself. Clean and not hurting the canes.
Sometimes you go to pick a cluster and one or more nice ripe sweet ones fall to the ground. And sometimes you flat out drop them out of your hand. This is the libation to the blackberry Gods. The blood sacrifice is wrought by the thorns although this is not a sacrifice to the Gods but an offering of yourself. The Gods, you see, are not jealous or vile or violent but ultimately playful and interested in your intent and dedication. Do you want a few gallons of blackberries enough to pick thorns from your hands, have welts swell up on your arms, and have sweat run in sheets down your face?
These days, of course, people don't have to do that in order to have fruit -- they can go buy it. And misguidedly they consider "work" for pay the same thing as work for food. It isn't.
What I was thinking about in the blackberry fields (or on the blackberry hill actually) was how life offers us real challenges, all the time, real and fruitful. Life will tell you if you are productive, useful, worthwhile . . . or not. Life will give you "community" . . . or not. Life will give you your "strong" . . . although whether you own it or not is another matter. All sorts of things.
Real things produce something real in the end. Like fried pies.
Real organic has bird sh*t on it, not plastic from the store or a smiling farmer selling it to you making you feel better about your soft-handed white-privileged life.
Real things have thorns.
Real things leave stains.
Did I forget to mention the BEAR POOP? Real bears poop. And like berries. And apples. And bees. Now, what little thing did you make up to be afraid of? bwahahaha!