August 20, 2007 at 2:10 PM
As I pen these words, it's late August and I'm thinking about blackberries. We have a blackberry field next to our house, and my husband Frank and I have been picking those luscious berries for the past few weeks. Those blackberries have topped our morning pancakes, provided us delicious desserts, and given us a frozen stash for winter delights. Yesterday, when we took our granddaughters on a hike, we passed lots of blackberry bushes, stopped to pick and eat many juicy berries, and I was reminded, once again, of why I savor blackberries.
When it's blackberry season, I don't care about stained purple fingers, prickly scratches, messed up clothes, or muddy shoes. Filling up a bucket of blackberries is pure joy. I love the tart, juicy, sweet taste of the berries. (Only half of them make it into the bucket.) I love being out in the hot sun in the midst of all the wild bramble bushes. I love making blackberry jam and blackberry pie and sharing those fruits of my labor with people I care about.
Most of all, though, when I really think about it, what I love best are the exquisite memories that blackberry picking evokes—wonderful family times when we picked berries together. Life seemed so uncomplicated then. Picking blackberries reminds me that life is sweet and sour, smooth and thorny, and always an adventure—sometimes within easy reach and other times a great challenge. So it is with our teaching—now and then prickly, always challenging, and with moments of pure delight.
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