Friday, May 27, 2005

Seduced by summer

The place of business where The Feared Redhead works is just a short mile from the place where I work, so on pleasant days, I walk the distance instead of her picking me up here. With record-setting temperatures, yesterday was just such a day. The route passes the Eugene Country Club and an empty field before reaching Oakway. Yesterday, as I walked the route, my olfactory senses were aroused by a scent that was at first hauntigly familiar, but which, when recognized, ravished my memory with a flood of old sensations.

The blackberries are in bloom.

Most Oregonians will readily admit to being absolute blackberry fiends. They grow as weeds here, and the hybrid Marionberry (not to be confused with Marion Barry)was developed here in Oregon, up in, of course, Marion County. I am no different. I am addicted to them.

Growing up in southern Oregon, I loved to pick blackberries as much as I loved eating them. In part, that is because eating blackberries is a significant protion of picking them. For ever berry that hits the bucket, usually two manage to reach the bucket's escape velocity, only to be inexorably pulled in by the gravitational forces of your mouth.

And eating blackberries, especially right off of the plant, is, if you'll pardon the expression, quite a sensual experience, almost erotic. The buxom fullness of the berries, the flood of juices as you devour them, the alternating tartness and sweetness of berries of varying degrees of ripeness. Eating blackberries is not a casual experience. And the atmosphere of picking them adds to this -- the silence of a remote country berry patch, disturbed only by the droning hum of bugs and the occasional call of a bird, the soaking heat of the sun, the sudden chills as you step into the shade and the wind picks up. Picking blackberries involves all the senses, you find yourself sleepy and aroused and hungry and sated all at the same time.

Now if I can just remember where I put my bucket.

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