Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Simple Gifts: Blackberries



Across from our house is one of the largest blackberry patches in town. Blackberries are an introduced species and they are a bit of a scourge around here but at least they are a scourge that tastes good. We can cut the blackberries in our backyard down to the ground and within a few months they're back up again bullying their way across the yard. Still, I tolerate them to a point.

Anytime I see a friend nibbling from the patch across the street I harass them, all in good fun, and tell them to get out of my blackberry patch. I haven't had a chance to pick any berries this year though and I figured they were mostly picked over by now anyhow. We have lots of other berries in the freezer to work through this winter. The other day I was chatting to a woman picking berries -- I don't know her well, but I do know she's lived in Tofino a long time and we often say hello. We chatted about berries (I'd just made my salal jelly, which thickened up well by the way) and, during the conversation, I said that I hadn't had time to pick any blackberries yet.

So yesterday I was walking downtown when the same woman drove by. We waved and then she drove across the street (not particularly safe, but it's much quieter in town right now!) and asked me if I'd had time to pick any blackberries yet. When I said no, she reached into her passenger seat and passed me a huge container of beautiful blackberries. I tried to decline — she'd worked hard for them; it was a huge container — and she insisted, saying "It's about all I can do right now and it makes me happy." The heart of Tofino indeed.

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