The character of the blackberries varied from area to area. When I had first started picking them, they had seemed rather uniform in size and shape. The only difference I noticed between them was the level of ripeness each berry had achieved.

As I picked all the ripe berries from each spot I moved to another. Gradually I noticed that some berries, while of similar size, were composed of more, but smaller, individual seeds while others were larger than average, but with fewer seeds. Others, even when ripe were small and hard. On tasting, I found these to be tart and strongly flavored. These grew in an area that was sunnier, and so, I surmised, drier. But then, just beside these, and in almost the same mini-climate, were blackberries that were longer and larger and composed of larger seeds. These literally fell off the bramble at the slightest touch. Often the act of picking one caused several to fall beyond reach into the depths of the brambles. When tasted, they were so juicy and sweet as to seem an almost different breed of berry altogether. I was tempted to risk the scratches and thorns to reach the fallen ones and not waste a single drop of the glorious nectar.

A few steps more and I discovered similar gorgeous berries. They were not as long, but rounder, with the seedpods just as full and heavy with juice. There were more of these ripe berries here, as if no one had dared to pick them. I hesitated a moment as if I were about to profane their virtue. Gently I reached and found resistance. I pulled harder, and again harder. Even the greatest tug could not free them as they would not give up their hold on the vine, but instead squashed into my fingers leaving only pulp and juice. Licking my fingers to clean them, I tasted what I felt must surely be ambrosia. I paused. Surely this was reserved for someone other than the mere mortal I was. I reached again. Greedily I began pulling at them as if milking tiny but succulent breasts. I sucked my stained fingers as the deep purple juice ran down his arms and chin. In a frenzy, I reached again and again, pulling and sucking, I continued until there were no more.

Standing there breathing heavily, my blood pounding in his ears, I felt at once a deep love along with the exhilaration of an intense lust. I had never felt so whole before, or more alive. I felt the heat of passion combined with the comfort and safety of the womb. I felt that for the first time I really understood everything, and yet could never express what I knew to anyone – a deep sadness tempered with the calm satisfaction of really belonging and perhaps really mattering to the universe. Seeing a patch of grass in the shade of a nearby grandfather oak, I collapsed and fell into a deep, profound sleep. Dreaming of the Blackberry Shortcake I would make with the berries I had found.

© 2011 The Indigenous Gourmet Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha