This past weekend marked my first blackberry picking excursion of the summer. I headed out to my favorite spot by the side of the road and spent a blissful hour lost in thought and brambles while Oren did a loop on his bike.
How succinctly, how poetically berry picking encapsulates the main themes of human behavior: The blackberry bush says, “What ever you do, don’t come near me. It’ll hurt.” So we dive in, lusting after the aggregate garnets. The bush takes a blood sacrifice, leaving scratches the color of its fruit all over our pincushion arms. But it’s OK, we say. Love hurts. We push on. No matter how far we lean and stretch, somehow the juiciest berry is always just out of reach. We find it difficult to stop, chanting Just one more. One more. One more. Our masochistic mantra.
But in the end, the blackberry bush wants us to pick. It accepts our sacrifice and then traps us in a prickly embrace, hoping that a few ripe berries will slip between our fingers, as they always do. So at the end of the hour—fingers tattooed, clothes ripped, arms stinging—we’re still left with the ultimate prize: a pile of perfect fruit, earned through hard work, that will give us pleasure a hundred times over as we eat, bake with, and then continue to eat each beautiful berry. This time, I turned my plunder into blackberry ice cream.
It’s been a few days, so my scratches are scabbing over and the splinters are working their way out of my fingertips. As soon as the wounds heal, I’m going back out to pick some more.