This was originally shared by John Forti, The Heirloom Gardener, but it really touched me, as several weeks ago I looked at my hands, and for the first moment saw the passage of time. Some of my favorite memories are of blackberries and blackberry picking...first with my Aunt Ida and then with my " Big Sister" Riet who was from Holland , both long gone. My sister and I have picked blackberries in the fields behind my parents home and when we bought our farm, you can imagine my delight when I saw the wild blackberries climbing the pasture fences. It was there that my son first discovered them and much to my delight he would bring me handful upon handful.
When we first moved into our home in Cleveland Heights, we had no blackberries so of course I defied my husbands orders and planted one small bush which has now taken over at least thirty feet along the fence. Every year, Alex still waits for them to ripen. When they're not with us I make him jam, but this year he and his wife were home because of Covid 19.
One morning this summer I looked out my window and saw this and my heart was full....
"Blackberries"~ By Margaret Atwood (on this, the week of her 80th birthday)
In the early morning, an old woman is picking blackberries in the shade.
It will be too hot later, but right now there's dew.
Some berries fall. Those are for squirrels. Some are unripe, reserved for bears. Some go into the metal bowl.
Those are for you so you may taste them just for a moment.
That's good times - one little sweetness after another, then quickly gone.
Once, this old woman I'm conjuring up for you would have been my grandmother.
Today, it's me.
Years from now, it might be you if you're quite lucky.
The hands reaching in among the leaves and spines were once my mother's.
I've passed them on.
Decades ahead, you'll study your own temporary hands, and you'll remember.
Don't cry. This is what happens.
Look; the steel bowl is almost full, enough for all of us.
The blackberries gleam like glass, like the glass ornaments
we hang on trees in December to remind ourselves to be
grateful for a snow.
Some berries occur in sun, but they are smaller.
It's as I always told you. The best ones grow in shadow."