We went blackberrying with my grandmother the other day. She and my father sat up front in the truck while I sat in back with a giant tank that sloshed with diesel fuel. Which I guess was lucky, since sometimes it's filled with liquid manure.
We drove back into the woods owned by my grandmother's husband--a man who talks in decibels eighty times too loud--and we stepped into the brambles. We waded through shoulder-high weeds and leaned past spider webs to get at the plumpest, the sweetest, the juiciest berries in the woods.
My grandmother told me a story about how once when I was a little, little girl I'd been so excited about getting the best berries that I'd plowed into the thickest, most gnarled nests of blackberry bushes and started filling my bucket. Plink. Plink. Plink. She could hear me somewhere in the heart of that blackberry patch. She could hear me for awhile. Then it was quiet. No more plinks. Then she could hear me crying for her because in my zeal to fill my pail I'd gotten in so deep that I'd turned myself around and gotten lost in the thorny branches.
Sounds about right. Sounds like what I've gotten myself into right now. Everything's a little too prickly, a little too over my head for my liking. I'm kind of blinking and turning circles and wondering how exactly I got myself in this spot.
Later, we went back to my grandmother's for lunch. She made blueberry buckle and made sure I ate two full pieces. When one of her friends stopped by and was joking with me about romance woes, my grandmother chuckled. "Oh, the boys just won't stop giving her the run-around," she told her friend, and I was secretly pleased because this was a whole different attitude than the infamous "Do you have boyfriends or girlfriends?" comment she made a couple years ago.
But then I had to wonder if maybe she was just saying this out loud to her friend because she hoped it was true and she didn't want him to think her granddaughter of marrying age was consorting with anything other than attractive and viable young men.
But then I decided I didn't care if she really believed I like boys or not (and, oh, do I ever), because she was passing me another plate of blackberry buckle and I was steadying my fork and getting ready to shove a heap of brown sugary goodness into my mouth.
And, oh, how sweet it was.