Picking blackberries

blackberries
hunting high but also low

August 2013

Blackberry picking is like living. The plumpest, most ostentatiously ripe blackberry is the one an inch away from my grasping hand stretched at the end of my stretched body on tiptoes at the edge of a mass of brambles on which I don’t want to fall.

As a child, during my summer blackberry-picking expeditions, I was reminded of my diminutive size every time the object of desire seemed within reach to my greedy eyes, but escaped my greedy hands.

I have sometimes accepted my inability to reach that object. I have landed back on my full feet, lowered the stretched arm, and continued filling my basket with less plump, but perfectly ripe blackberries that my hand could pick with minor discomfort — maybe a scratch here and there to show off later as evidence of the battle fought.

Sometimes, however, I have refused to accept the situation, and made my way to the hard-to-get blackberry and picked it and verified that it was all I expected it to be — and more. (There were also a few disappointments, but how would I have known, had I not been able to taste the blackberry?)

Yet other times, when on the surface I had to accept defeat, a third way opened up. Instead of hunting high, I have looked for treasures low, where adults and taller kids did not stoop to look. And I have found precious berries there.

This does not mean I don’t strive to reach new heights, only that sometimes it pays to pay attention to what is closer to me, within reach. A small treasure may be waiting under the leaf that’s scratching my elbow.


© 2015-2017 Simona Carini