I forgot about the berries

Yesterday morning I headed out the door for my usual mid-morning exercise. I haven't run for a few weeks. I'm feeling more motivated these days to amble through the woods, than race through.

walking with berries

Brienne came with me. She had barely finished her breakfast and hurriedly put on a summer dress, changing out of her pj's just in time to join me. I had a late morning Skype appointment and I needed to be out and back before that time.

(I'd like to point out at that we had just arrived home from our trip the night before. The house was a post-trip disaster zone and the fridge was nearly empty. These things could have stopped me from getting out the door. They didn't.) 

We rushed out the door together and almost immediately the wind in the trees started to work its magic on me. I was already starting to relax when we walked into the wild raspberry patch a few steps from our door. That's when any sense of rush completely fell away. How can you not stop for berries?

handful of berries

These are little berries, nearly hidden on the forest floor. You'd have to pick a lot of these jewel clustered pips to make any jam. But these aren't jam berries, they're eating berries.

They are "let's go for a walk but spend most of the time crouched on the forest floor picking berries" berries. They are "fill your sundress pocket" berries.

putting raspberries in pocket

We picked what we could carry in our hands and pockets and then sat by the river to eat them, watching the Eastern Tiger Swallowtails swoop and skitter through the air. (They are so hard to photograph in flight.)

emptying raspberries out of pocket

There was still time to walk a little loop along the river path and through the fern forest, as we like to call it.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

When we came back out into more open and well lit areas the little strawberries did their best to entice us, but I really couldn't stop at this point, so Brienne kept me on task (because I find it nearly impossible to walk past berry patches).

I had forgotten about the berries, not about the u-pick farms and the baskets and boxes being sold in the grocery stores. Those berries are big and bold, well advertised by the plants and growers alike.

picking little raspberries

I had forgotten about their smaller cousins, the berries that grow in obscurity on the forest floor, providing food for small mammals and fairies.

wild strawberry plants

These are berries you must stoop to pick. Berries that stop you in your tracks, ruby against the green and brown of the forest floor.

wild raspberry in child hand

You don't pay for these berries. You don't fertilize, mulch or prune them. They don't give the yield of a cultivated berry patch but they don't ask for anything either. They are nature's gift.

jewel berries

I had forgotten all this but a little walk through the woods yesterday reminded me. And next time I go for a walk I'll bring a little container and not have an appointment waiting for me at home.

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  • JennO

    JennO on July 11, 2013, 3:30 p.m.

    Ahh...the charm and romance of summer have been captured. Lovely as always, Renee. "Welcome home", say the fairies of the forest. So good that you took the time to listen to them :)


  • Jill Foley

    Jill Foley on July 11, 2013, 6:04 p.m.

    Smiling! I can't wait for our blackberries to be ready because they are the "forest" berries that beckon me...only they grow everywhere in the city. They are out of control and considered a nuisance by many, but they are delicious!


  • Johanna Hanson

    Johanna Hanson on July 11, 2013, 7 p.m.

    Our kids got their first experience picking wild berries just the other day. We were at friends and there are woods behind their house. The older kids took my kids to find some berries. I've never seen my kids eat so many berries and I wasn't at all upset about the stains on my little girls' white shirt. Beautiful summertime!


  • Lori

    Lori on July 11, 2013, 9:30 p.m.

    We've just found some wild blackberries on our new-to-us daily walk.  This is a first for us.  I'll have to bring my camera along at some point so I don't forget!


  • Peter & Sheila

    Peter & Sheila on July 13, 2013, 7:24 a.m.

    Berries reawakened forgotten memories of our trip from Victoria BC to Prudhoe Bay just twelve months ago. Memories of picking the berries in our treks through the forests of BC and blueberries growing on perma frost in the shadow of the oil pipeline of Alaska. Good memories, never to be repeated memories but a joy as we start to relive the moment and recall the intense flavour of nature at its most bountiful.


  • Nana

    Nana on July 13, 2013, 3:40 p.m.

    So happy you stopped in your tracks and shared these photos. Reminded me of our trip with your family to Grand Manan, berry-munching our way along those paths by the lighthouse.


  • Alison

    Alison on July 14, 2013, 4:08 p.m.

    Wild raspberries make truly wonderful jam too. The difficulty is not eating them when you see them, but it carries some summer into the cooler months.


    • renee

      renee on July 14, 2013, 4:13 p.m.

      These particular raspberries are so tiny and the fruit doesn't come off the center part very well (not sure what that's called) I wouldn't want to jam them because the work involved wouldn't be worth it, at least not for me. (smile).

      We have higher bush raspberries that grow wild around here and they will be ready to harvest and eat later this month. Those would be better for making jam. 


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