Today is the first day of school and the beach is strangely quiet. It is a perfect day for gathering blackberries along the cliff side. I am lulled by the sound of waves lapping behind me as I pluck and scrape and pull the berries’ sweetness off the vine. A few noisy gulls and my particularly busy Yorkie are the only intruders to my quest, so I feel at my leisure to pick generously from this bounty. To encourage Sophie’s patience, I feed her kibble from time to time and then wonder if my blackberry jam will have an essence of poultry flavor in it. Brambles and September spider webs mount a reasonable defense as I reach into their depths but in this too, I am unphased.
The best berries are fat and jolly like Santa bellies, able to be squeezed just a little but not so much that they fall apart. We’ve reached the part of blackberry season when the clusters have more black than red in them. The fatties are everywhere and I feel ecstatic inside.
While my fingers are blue and my legs scratched up by the time I fill my bucket, it is hard to mind much. The transcendent flavors that will find their way into jams and gastriques and crisps and cobblers will be deeply savored for many weeks to come.