Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Summer Is Here!

At last summer. No, it is not baseball or 4th of July or swimming or picnics or any of the usual things one thinks of. It is the ripening of the wild raspberries! I had my first today! Out of the hand of my youngest boy who now towers above me. We stopped by a friend's house and she mentioned her wild raspberries were ripe, so the boy braved bramble thorns for me. It was afternoon, so they were warm from the sun, and a deep burgundy color, sweet as anything. Lovely! I remember when the boys were little, their delight at finding that edible things grew in the great outdoors and the sort of secretive way we ate them right off the canes without washing them. And in a few weeks, after the black raspberries are done, the blackberries will be ripe. Blackberries are sparser on the plant but each berry is larger and more succulent than black raspberries, making them well worth the wait. In the prairie, where oak trees stand wide to form swaths of savanna whose edges are ringed with shrubby things that can tolerate being burned to the ground without their roots being killed. This brambly band often contained hazelnut, elderberry, black raspberry, and blackberry. Imagine coming across the wide hot dry windy prairie and discovering a patch of this savanna and enjoying the sweet berries, then breaking through the thorny tangle to the cool dark shade within! I remember a prairie tour once years ago when I got left behind as I lingered to eat berries. It was mid morning and those at the top of the plant were warm with the sun and those lower under the foliage were still cool from the night. Ah, perfection.

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