This is a common Blackberry. It is found everywhere here in the Northwest. It grows on the side of the road, in the forest, along paths and trails...everywhere. It's considered a noxious weed by those who would prefer it didn't over take their yards, trees and shrubs.
"It's a berry, Rachelle! Why are you blogging about a berry?", you might ask.
True, it's a simple berry. But in its simplicity, it has brought our family joy!
For the last several summers, our family has been frequenting the "blackberry meadows", as Simon has coined a strip of blackberries a couple blocks away from our house near pastures full of cows, horses and sheep. Generally, we hop on our bikes for a neighborhood ride and eventually find ourselves swerving down the old country road, past the grazing animals, towards the sun setting behind an old oak tree to our blackberry meadows. Sometimes it's just for a quick snack to re-energize our weary bones for the bike ride home. Other times, such as tonight, we venture directly to the meadows with a purpose...dessert!
While finishing our dinner tonight of simple bean and rice burritos we decided it would be great if our dessert of simple vanilla ice cream could be colored by a handful of simple blackberries! Once we returned from a wonderful, midsummer night's bike ride through the neighborhood to collect our plump, bursting circles of sugar water, we scooped some ice cream, swirled the blackberries right in and enjoyed a sweet, fresh treat. We all marvelled at the beauty around us. We thankfully remarked about how we love our home, our neighborhood and our simple little lives. And we sat in pure bliss, savoring every last drop of melting, blue ice cream as if to silently agree that the bounty God hides for us, his children, is one of the greatest gifts in life! There is something about venturing only a few blocks from my home and being able to pick a nutritious, tasty food directly from the spot God placed it, that makes me feel safe--taken care of. I can't explain it. And it may not even make sense to you unless I say this...joy is given to us as a gift. Daily. In the simple things. If only we can stop a moment to taste it.
It's the simple things, I remind myself.