During my walk at The Ranch, I came across blackberry vines (numerous times):
I have an ambivalent relationship with blackberry vines. On the one hand, I appreciate the fact that they produce blackberries. As someone that occasionally walks his family's land, I deplore them for the fact that they seem to take over everything and make water access virtually impossible if left unchecked. But it has been a very long time since I have been there when I was in season.
On a whim, I started picking them off and putting them into my hand to take back to the house. The berries were literally right along the side of the road, tart and ready to be eaten.
Picking them, in the cool of the morning and the silence of nothing but birdsong, brought back a flood of memories. We would pick blackberries when I was young, driving up to the family land where the old mining claim was from when my ancestors came out to the plot of land where the family house used to be before it burned. My grandparents and my parents would pick the blackberries while my sister and I would pick for a little while, then get bored and follow the drainage ditch from the mine for a while or look for melted glass where the house had stood. The blackberries, those that we did not eat, would come out over the year as blackberry jam.
We have not had blackberry jam in years (the store bought stuff, without seeds to crunch, is useless) and I have not been near a blackberry plant in fruit for at least 11 years. It comforts me to know that such simple pleasures still exist and, when called upon, can still yield forth their store of stories.