They bring me so much joy.
Sweetness of life embodied in a carefully designed package.
Providing caloric bliss on long runs in the Bosque.
Machinations each spring on how to harvest them better than the year before.
Each spring, I am excited for the simple pleasure of these mini-blackberry creations. There is something deep in our genetic code about picking something right from the source and popping it into your mouth. Even more so when it grows wild and doesn’t need careful cultivation from us humans.
My cerebral cortex, in an area just adjacent to one filled with medical algorithms, has a clear map of all of the mulberry sources, with sticky notes about the nuances of each tree/bush bearing this fruit.
Tree on Campbell Rd, midway between Rio Grande Blvd and Bosque, south side of road – solid source of mulberries, early bloom, candidate for step-ladder approach with tarp underneath, as lowest branches are too high to reach from the ground. Great spot to visit with my kids for harvesting while on bike rides.
Bush at UNM Health Sciences Center, lower level plaza, southwest end of library – early harvest, great for access. Recently saw raccoon atop the bush which did make me wonder if I should keep gorging on the fruit. Still a solid source to explore each spring.
Recently, as I finished eating with my kids from a mulberry tree close to campus that may have the best fruit of them all, hands and mouth purple-stained, shoes dyed with splashes of berry juice, I thought greedily about taking some home.
Now, the one thing about the mulberry part of my brain is that memory and cognition are not quite operating the way they do in the adjacent “medical algorithms” section. So, I ignored what I knew from previous years and started stuffing the extra fruit in a makeshift mulberry bin.
We got home, and excited for a second serving, I reached into the bag to find a mushy mess. Even by taste, there just wasn’t that “bang” I remembered from plucking them from the tree hours earlier. Gone was the thrill of picking the berries with my kids in a game of who can get messiest. A big letdown, just like every year in the past.
Mulberries remind us of the beauty of the present.
They teach us to embrace life without needing to possess it.
Embrace the sweetness of each moment today.
When you come upon the mulberry moments of your travels, take a few deep breaths to appreciate it all. Listen to life at that moment. Feel your heart beating in joy. Leave your phone in your pocket – as with mulberries, hoarding more than one can eat at the source usually disappoints.