Hank tapped at the front door and not sure if he really needed to go out or if he was just sulking because he didn’t get a taco I grabbed a couple of grocery bags just in case. Outside he pulled to the left and kept on going, not bothering to look back and seek approval as he usually does. They say you shouldn’t let your dog be in charge of the walk. That’s probably good advice. But tonight I didn’t mind, I was anxious to be outside and since when is your 150 pounder not in charge anyway.
This afternoon I asked my mom what the weather was doing out there. She laughed and said it was only 88 and tomorrow only 90, “maybe fall is on the way.” Our summer, while significantly cooler than that, seems to be just kicking into high gear. Summer around here seems to ride in on the wheels of RV’s and hazy sunsets reaching full ripeness alongside the juicy berries that pop out to color the green.
Hank and I walked on enjoying the reprieve from the winds that blow relentlessly across the golf course for most of June and July. It was not until we were headed back that I spotted a cluster of ripe blackberries. I took one of the bags that was shoved into my pocket to grab a few. But as berry pickers know, one cluster leads to another and another and before you know it, you are full on in a ditch filling up a Thriftway bag.
Blackberries are more temperamental and less forgiving than blueberries or strawberries. You have to work a little more diligently. Getting them means taking on the risk of a thorny vine hooking onto your jeans or snagging your shirt, getting a little scraped up is just part of it.
All of this impromptu berry picking had me thinking about seasons and what we associate with each one, images popping up of what we do and who we’re with, some things a constant and defining presence, others changing. My idea of summer has evolved to include northwestern things now that I’m experiencing them a second time around. The scrapes I’ve endured while acclimating myself here make this summer a little sweeter.
Once we were back home it didn’t take long for Abigail to catch on that those blackberries had come from right outside our door. We headed out again; this time all four of us walking into our summer.
A summer that is always defined by each other, and is more recently defined by cobbler, delicious blackberry cobbler.