Josh came in the house with a white bowl in two hands. It was filled to the brim with black raspberries.
We didn't plant them--the wild canes prick their way between the oak and walnut trees and their understory ferns and flowers with a shocking profusion. Raspberries are, we know, invasive. And most of the year, they seem to lean out deliberately to trip you up or score your shin, leaving a thin blood line. Not quite as vicious as multiflora rose that will cut right through denim, but more wily and ropy. Sometimes you feel like you're a steer, caught in its arc.
But they are so delicious.
A couple of weeks ago, we began to see them darken--one in each little bundle of berries. We picked a few, walking, and enjoyed the bright tang. Seemed too few to really try and pick, though--it took Fiona some 45 minutes to get half a cup. (She may have lacked true purposefulness in her picking. Time. I remind myself that she's not yet as old as I was when I learned how to pick strawberries by working at Behling's Spookhill Farms.). A week, later, though, there were 5 or 6 ripened in each cluster, and suddenly everywhere they were smudged into visibility a forest of richness revealed, finally visible.
He'd been out with the pigs, feeding them. He's observed that though each pig has its own bowl, and the food is equally divided among the 8 bowls, almost all the pigs think the other pigs have something worth stealing and leave their own bowls to go after others' bowls, others' feed. Only one doesn't. The smallest--or maybe second-smallest--stays by its bowl and eats, eats even if Josh approaches and stands right there to make contact.
After hanging out with the pigs, Josh brought his own bowl out and started picking.
He didn't even have to wander that far, he said.
I was so happy out there, picking them, he said. A whole bowl. And there were so many more. I almost started to well up.