Raspberry Picking – Answering a Good Intention
Brambles surround our house. This is partly due to neglect. The owners claim to know little about selective cutting and moreover have an aversion to electric trimmers and chainsaws and to poison ivy (of which they have three kinds). But because the wooded areas are so wild, raspberries and blackberries thrive.
It was the man-of-the-house (Dean) who first noticed the red raspberries when he walked to the mailbox. He pointed this out to the-lady-of the-house (me). That evening, when she finished reading of the frugal canning activity of her long distance friend by way of a paper letter, she placed the letter on her nightstand and fell asleep with a good intention – jam - and had sweet dreams.
The weekend was a busy 4th of July, which brought larger meals to prepare, a house full of guests to serve, a cute and very active grandson to play with. It was at the start of a new week that the lady-of-the-house grabbed hold of her previous week’s good intention. She set out first thing in the morning with the words, “time for raspberry picking” rallying her forth. While the early birds were catching their worms and singing, she added to her summer garb an apron, a straw hat and rubber boots. She fit a plastic container inside her shopping basket and stepped outdoors before breakfast. A morning dove was cooing and the air was humid and warm even in the shade. It would be another hot day in Pennsylvania, perhaps the hottest of the summer. She picked only the plumb berries that were a tantalizing pink-red. A gentle touch sufficed in loosening these ripe berries. As she rolled them gently between her fingertips they dropped easily and noiselessly into the basket. It was a calm and quiet activity. “This must be the same outdoor relaxation that is so soothing to a man who enjoys fishing,” she thought.
As the sun rose higher the morning dove no longer cooed and the buzzing of insects took its place. Were they bumblebees, house flies, mosquitoes? It didn’t matter. She was intent on filling her basket and savoring an hour of quiet solitude. Every once in a while, her leg was scratched just above a boot not by the raspberry brambles but by the prickly weeds that stood like armed guards at the foot of them. Thinner branches with clusters of fruit at their tips were bent near to the ground. Collecting their berries she saw that she was stepping on poison ivy. The vines were trailing beneath her boots. But even this did not deter her. She went right on picking to her heart’s content.
The-man-of-the-house came outdoors looking for the-lady-of-the-house. He must have spied her from a window. He had his camera and finding her so peacefully occupied took a photo as a memento.
Three quarts of raspberries are in our freezer. When I think it a good day for the-lady-of-the-house to make jam (for the first time in her life) I’ll let you know. A little of the prolific canning activity of my resourceful long distance friend is, finally, rubbing off on me. I am getting poised. But for now I am content to share this morning’s moment of Mother Culture with you. And I wish you a serene moment of your own.
“Mom, what happened to the raspberries? Did you freeze them all?”