Blackberry Hunting

“What’s that bag for Sweetie?” I asked, when Kevin got in the car with a large, heavy-gauge, clear plastic bag with handles.

“For the blackberries.”

We had seen them starting to turn from red to black a couple of weeks ago when we walked at Clahane.

“Isn’t this early for them to ripen since it’s only August?” I was surprised because I knew Kevin had not started to learn to make his own jam until after I returned to Scottsdale last year.

“It is, but I’ll get some now anyway,” Kevin replied. The hunter-gatherer was already deep into foraging mode. Same as when he is searching for lost golf balls — he is a man possessed.

Just a couple hundred yards beyond where we parked, Kevin started to pick them. I walked on and when I got to the bend in the single track road, I yelled to Kevin, “ There’s a lot of them just here when you go around this bend.”

“There’s plenty here too. You go on and I’ll catch up,” Kevin assured me.

He never did.

I doubled back a couple of times but he was not to be seen. The wind was fierce but at least the sunshine was plentiful. I kept going at a brisk pace charging up a hill into the teeth of the wind. I felt buoyant, even with all my layers.

There were a few dog walkers and joggers. The occasional car inched by me as I stood up close to the brambles.

The pounding surf fifty feet below propelled me forward.

Kevin was nowhere in sight, so I decided to make a video of the rock art. There’s so much now, it took a full seven minutes from the faded “Keep Your Sunny Side Up”, to “Seek Truth”, and an early favorite, “We’re All in the Same Boat.”

You can hear and see waves crashing on the rocky shore. The incessant wind is blowing, making for an annoying soundtrack.

When I got back to the car there was no Kevin. He didn’t answer his phone so I didn’t know if he was still intensely into picking blackberries or was finishing the loop. Back and forth I paced, not knowing which direction he would come from.

At last he showed up. The plastic bag was bulging with plump blackberries. Juice was dripping down inside.

Beaming, Kevin said, “ I found a huge cluster of berries near a gate to a field. The sun was beating down on them, and they were so ripe. I just couldn’t tear myself away!”

Kevin drove with only his left hand on the steering wheel, his right hand was a bright purple.

When we got home, after washing the mountain of berries, they went right into the freezer. A few days later, Kevin the alchemist, produced the most extraordinary jam.

I suppose it’s in the genes, from having watched his mother do it so many times during his childhood.

The earth has given us the gift of the fruit and Kevin has transformed it, with love, into another delicious form of love. And it’s even spreadable!