It is that time of year; when young hands and faces are stained with purple sticky juice and mothers are pulling huge blackberry thorns out of little finger tips with their teeth. Yes, it is Blackberry Season here in Texas.
Once we got rid of our cows
(the bull had a death wish toward my husband and we decided growing hay was easier and safer than growing cows) the unintended consequence was horribly overgrown fence-lines. But the blackberry bushes are now thriving and we have sweet organic blackberries stretching for what seems like miles. Yes, organic is easy when you are growing thorny weeds. :-)
So today was our first venture this year to the back pasture to pick berries. Visions of cobbler, homemade jam, and fresh berries and cream danced through our heads while we were standing in the hot afternoon sun getting stabbed by thorns and praying that we wouldn't get bit by snakes or spiders. I told the kids to put two berries in their buckets for every one they ate. I now know my kids can't count...
Imp was saying over and over again "I LOVE blackberry picking" and Duke replied "I love blackberry eating"! Honestly, times like this define my life. It was a beautiful day, we were out in a sunny green field, the boys were laughing and drooling blackberry juice, and I wasn't worried about working on the computer, cleaning, or editing photos. I was living in the moment, something this often stressed-out overworked mom needed.
We picked for about two hours and I have 5 pounds of berries in my freezer and the boys have 5 pounds of berries in their tummies. We have bug bites, small scratches all over our arms and legs, poisen ivy juice all over our exposed areas, and the shared joy of picking our own fresh food and spending time together.
When we walked back to the house we had a little berry picnic. I know we ate quite a few bugs (they are quite bitter), had a few fire ants stings (they love the berries as much as we do), dropped many of our berries on the ground (the chickens jumped our back fence and were following the boys around like hungry dogs), and put butterfly nets on our heads (this one I don't get, but it was Imp's idea and we went with it).
Duke picked a few "past their prime" blackberries and named them "Blackberry Prunes". He said he wanted to make some Blackberry Prune Pie. Nothing in life is as funny as your own kids.
Life does not get better than this my friends. I know it is trite, but the best things and times in life are usually free. And messy.
Today the stock market dropped almost 1000 points in a few minutes, we saw all of the damage and destruction from flooding in TN, there was a possible bomb threat on a bus, and oil is still pooling in the Gulf. But I was picking blackberries with my boys and everything was fine.
I know I say this all of the time, but take time to smell the flowers, enjoy your loved ones, and pick some berries. When it all is said and done, it is those moments that really matter.
I write this to also remind myself. Life is rushing by faster every year; my babies are now little boys and my husband and I are decades older (and wiser) than the two young kids who met in a deli of a small town grocery store.
I don't care about money or fame or academic achievement. Happiness and success in life for me would be being remembered as a loving wife and mother. Maybe that is not politically correct these days, but that is what is important to me.
Funny how something as simple as picking blackberries reminds you of the meaning of life.