It was a hot Saturday afternoon. Everyone I knew was taking a nap. Restless
from washing dishes and doing other housework, I took two plastic bags
and knocked on my neighbour's door.
She, too, was napping. Apologetically I asked for the keys to the gate of
her allotment. I was ready to pick the rest of her berries.
Everyone living around the allotment was also asleep. I pinched the
remaining raspberries and blackberries. Then I sat down and started picking
the black and red currants. The sun felt hot on my straw hat. I bent under
the branches to pick the most hard-to-get berries. Each time I thought
I had finished picking a branch, more would show up.
After an hour of bending, squatting, kneeling, and sitting, I had almost
two bags full. Yet I still couldn't stop. The act of picking berries was
In the middle of this fast plot of land filled with organic vegetables
and berries sat the obsessive berry picker. It was like a take-or-pay
natural gas contract. Either I pick it, or it dries up. Use it or lose
it. So I was on a mission to rescue every ripe berry.
I stopped only when my bags were completely full. As I slowly walked
to the gate, I dreamt of the organic berry jams I was going to make later
My neighbour showed up at the gate. "Thank you for helping me pick
these berries," she said to my surprise. "You're doing me such
a big favour. Next year's berries will be even juicier than this year's."
I suppose, if I had another plastic bag with me, I would have stayed for
one more hour.
29 July 2001
1 Jul pick your own berries