The summer we moved into this house (two years ago), I was working at the edge of the property, and I kept getting snagged on these huge thorn bushes. Finally I put on long sleeves and got the clippers, and I chopped them down three feet back into the rough. A few days later, my neighbor said, “Oh, I saw you chopped down those blackberry bushes…”
I was horrified. “Is THAT what they are?”
He laughed at my ignorance. “Don’t worry,” he said. “They’ll grow back.”
Actually, it looks like I did the neighborhood a favor, because in effect, I pruned them. The last two years we’ve had an abundant crop of wild blackberries, a gorgeous array peeking from amid the wildflowers at the wood’s edge.
Alex and I braved the sauna on Wednesday and brought in enough to satisfy the family for two days.
With today’s gorgeous weather, I decided it was time to stop fooling around. I haven’t been down to the creek all year, because I’ve been intimidated by the logistics of getting two non-walkers down there and back. But enough is enough. I loaded Nicholas in the stroller, put Julianna on my hip, and went for an outdoor adventure.
While Nicholas stared fascinated at the leaves swaying in the cool wind, I sat down with Julianna at the edge of the creek. She’s newly discovered the fun of throwing things, so we started tossing rocks. Then Alex, who was watching a neighbor boy catch crawdads, called me over. I turned my back on Julianna for ninety seconds. When I came back, this is what I found:
After the woods, it was blackberry picking time:
My childhood was beautiful. I remember jumping off hay bales, climbing trees, playing pretend in the combines, tractors and trucks, the lofts and grain bins, and of course, the woods and the creeks. I remember badminton games with my sisters in the huge yard on still summer evenings, sunsets from the tin roof, lying in the big yard watching a meteor shower. And quiet. Above all, the quiet.
When we set out to buy a house to live in for the long term, I wanted to find a place where our kids could grow up, a place with acreage and woods and countryside—a place where they could experience at least some of the things I value so much in my memory—the things I long for still. That was why we picked a house with woods and creek behind it.
We’re far too close to the interstate to get stillness (except once in a while on a freak weather pattern) and bejeweled starscapes, but on days like today, I realize that my kids will have their own experience of nature—its fun and its holiness—and the fact that their experience is different from mine doesn’t make it any less precious. God willing, they will hold these memories just as dear as I hold mine.