Friday, July 15, 2011


Dorcas and I are like children, riding our bicycles after supper to pick blackberries in Tommy Martin’s field.  There was rain last week and the berries have grown fat and sweet as they ripened.  It’s tempting to put more in our mouths than in the bucket, but cobblers don’t get made that way.  So we pick, reaching far into the overgrown patch to get the fattest berries.  Brambles tug at our clothes and scratch our bare legs.  Occasionally an old, dead cane will snag, tearing flesh, and we are reminded to be more careful. We pick until it becomes too dark to tell ripe berries from the red ones, and then start home. 

We ride down a dirt lane past barns filled with rusting equipment, no longer used but still precious in someone’s memory.  Blossoms of trumpet vine reach out along the lane, calling louder than Gabriel, but we must get home before the feral hogs come out to root along the verge and in the lawns.  We ride through the village, now closed for the day and dark.  The last customer has left the café and the cook has gone home to his wife, home from her job in the city.  No one stirs along the road, and no one sees two small children grown old, riding their bicycles in the twilight, trying to reach home before their mothers begin calling for them. 


  1. Is it early for you to have blackberries? They are always an Autumn fruit for us. One of the great Autumn smells is the smell of blackberry and apple jam being made! Jane x

  2. What memories you bring back. I did the very same thing every summer.

  3. Jim -- what a delightful story of two adults recreating a scene perhaps from childhood. With eight generations under your belt, in the area, I imagine you can recreate many stories about your roots. -- barbara

  4. Hello again, Jane. No, our blackberries always ripen in July. Here on the plateau they're a week or two later than they were down in the valley, so they're never quite ready for July 4th picnics here.

    NCMW, I feel sorry for city kids who miss the experience. One of my favorite experiences as a Boy Scout leader was to introduce city kids to the pleasures of picking wild blackberries. They always approached the event with caution, and always ended up in "blackberry fights." After they had eaten their fill, of course!

    Welcome, Barbara. I think you've put your finger on it! I AM in my second childhood! Or is it the third? OBTW, I really enjoy your photos of old buildings. Jim

  5. Wonderful prose as well as a luscious photo.