I completely missed blackberry season last year while I was visiting my Mom in New England. So you can bet I made a point of picking this year.
I used to go blackberry picking with my sons when they were growing up. Those have become fond memories; filling our individual bowls and then pouring the berries into one great big container. We compared our blue-black finger tips and the scratches we'd gotten in the process, making sure we avoided the poison oak that grew thick among the brambles. I often got so absorbed in my picking, I'd forget to watch where I was stepping.
This year I picked berries at my neighbor's, by myself in the cool stillness of early morning. There wasn't any calling back and forth - "Hey there's a great, unpicked patch over here!" Just the call of a mourning dove and a quiet that I noticed for some reason. The berries hung in clusters over her fence and there wasn't any poison oak. I picked 13 cups, enough for two pies, in less than a half an hour. It didn't seem right somehow. It was singular and too easy.
But there's nothing that says summer to me like blackberry pie and ice cream.
I recently received an e-mail from my son, who has moved to the Seattle area. He and his wife had gone blackberry picking. He sent me a picture.
It made me smile. I guess the tradition continues.