Braving the Blackberry Bushes: An Exercise in Awareness

For the past decade, I have been living in the Pacific Northwest – the land of berries, salmon, and kale. What more could I ask for? A nutritionist’s dream!

One of my favorite times of year here is the end of the summer when the mornings become a tinge cool, the days still warm and toasty, and the curtain of night falls earlier, leaving us blanketed with a more brisk, refreshing temperature, not to mention a vast, starlit sky. With the subtle transition of seasons, we are gifted with the glorious treasure of third-eye, power-packed blackberries. It seems as though every year, I find myself going through the spiral-like experience of remembering how much I truly resonate with the energy of blackberries.

Today, I visited our blackberry-bramble-overrun garden and found myself pleasantly surrounded with purple-black clusters of goodness at my feet.shutterstock_25410079

It was a meditative experience for me to be outside bathed in the silence of the morning in the presence of the steely blackberry bushes. Being in the thick of them forces you to be ultra-aware of your surroundings. You need to watch every movement of your body – feet, legs, hands, and torso – to be sure you don’t become ensnared in their thorny tangle. For me, blackberry-picking is nothing short of awareness-building. And, fortunately, the reward is great.

It was almost as though my heightened awareness allowed me to be more in tune with the energy of the blackberries themselves. I felt the essence of their strength through their long, spiky tendrils. I had an appreciation of how nature is perfectly designed to protect itself from the elements. I could see that some spiders and bugs were courageous enough to carefully navigate their way within the thick of the blackberry maze to spin a web or to take up residence on the stem or a lonely leaf.

As I would carefully extend my hand to pick the ripe blackberries, I had to be cautious not to pull out a hand full of pinpricks. At the same time, the moment I would barely touch the blackberries, they would fall effortlessly into my hands as though they were looking to be rescued. Sometimes the cluster of them were ready to be free and, for others, especially the smaller ones that were not yet purple-black, but still in the green- or red-phase, they were not ready to take the plunge. The time was not yet right.

Even though I seem to have it every year, I am grateful for the realization of the magnificent, sheer beauty of the seemingly small blackberry – its complex composition of many spheres coming together in a collective cluster; its shiny, pearly surface and the intricate layers of skin enrobing every sphere; its generous provision of thousands of phytonutrients to our physiology. I marveled at the juxtaposition of its tenderness and tenacity.

Hours later, after eating handfuls of blackberries in a smoothie and in a piece of fresh cobbler, I feel incredible gratitude for this tiny, remarkable fruit. It has allowed me to share in its beauty, life, and deliciousness. I love the idea of eating locally, especially when it comes from your backyard.

I am filled with nourishment on many levels..the blackberry and I have become one!

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