Last Saturday we were driving along the country highway and saw a sign for raspberries that wasn't there a few days ago. Being complete suckers for raspberries, and mine aren't ripe yet, we stopped. We found a brand new patch of the biggest berries I've ever seen. Ever. I immediately went for the black raspberries and we picked two pints in about two minutes. They were as big as a quarter!
I hated to boil these berries into jam. I gently constructed a pie - one of the best pies I've ever made - and the berries held their shape they were so perfect! We just finished the last piece and even my non-dessert eating Patient Husband said it was a perfect pie.
My black raspberry picking has always been confined to what I could find in the woods and fields around the house. I am not afraid to tromp through brush and tangled prickers and poison ivy to get a good berry. I come out looking like I've been scourged and welted with mosquito bites but there's a bag of black raspberries in the freezer for a pie in January when I savor each bite and remember what I went through to get them. Remembering each scab and mosquito by name .
When my son was a little guy I remember coming home from a particulary wicked picking experience and my legs were really, truly scourged, the blood dripping and dried in rivulets down my legs. Cuts and scrapes on top of each other. One cut keeping the other moist with my dripping blood. Really. I was filling the bathtub to soak my cuts and he walked by the door, saw my legs and asked, "Mommy! What happened!" I told him and he looked at me with huge eyes, "Why aren't you CRYING??" I knew the moment I lowered into the tub and the water hit those scrapes I would be crying. But he wouldn't see it. I didn't want him to think picking berries was something that made you cry.