About Me

My photo
I am a mother, a teacher, and a nature lover. I grew up on a mountain we called Owls' Knob in the Ozarks of Arkansas. The first seven years of my life were spent living in a log cabin, far from a store or streetlight, without electricity or running water and after twenty years of travel, I returned to the abondoned homestead. Now I live on a hill by a small lake and work at a public garden. These are stories about nature written from a women deeply influenced by place.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Raspberries for Zane

In the Ozarks we call wild raspberries wine berries. Like most wild berries, they are smaller but more flavorful. A patch if these wild red berries sprouted up among a carpet of poison ivy, near a broken down chicken hut. The sight does not seem ideal in any way. It is shaded, surrounded by competing vines, and amongst trash. Yet that is where the raspberries wanted to grow.

Then I found out that the patch was in the exact location of an old outhouse. After twenty years the human manure had enriched the soil like expensive fertilizer. I don't think these delicious berries as thriving off of shit as much as recycling in a closed loop. Really, it is a beautiful cycle. 

Every year the raspberry patch grows a few more sprigs and a bit more berried can be collected each day. This year was a plentiful year. I trudged through the ivy, avoiding its poisonous juice, to reach the sweet grove. In a matter of minutes I picked a cup of ripe red berries.

After popping a few in my mouth, I offered one to my son. He was taken aback at first, surprised by its intense and often sour taste. Then he dove in. He shoved handfuls of ripe berries into his mouth until his cheeks were full like a chipmunk's. Juice trickled off his chin and made a stream down his chest. He eyed me suspiciously, and hovered over the cup of fruit, guarding the treat. When they were gone, he asked me for more. I had no more. He fussed a bit. Then he waved bye-bye to the empty cup.