This week we have been walking the back field in search of a natural wonder: wild raspberries. The plants have almost totally overtaken huge sections of the old fence line. With the girls in long sleeves and pants, we have been able to forage and find some of the most amazing fruit I have tasted. Other years I have focused on picking myself, and made pies. However, this year, I've followed my wife's lead and chosen to simply be present with the girls as they pick their own, reaching those that are too high, tromping down thistles and Burdock that would otherwise halt their progress. It is far from an efficient endevour, with as many falling into their mouths as into their baskets. That's OK, though, since those that do make it into their baskets end up in their mouths on the way home.
They seem to have a much better sense of what it means to interact with the wild than I do. Wild raspberries never all come ripe at the same time. You have to pick over the plants looking for those that are ready now. And then, you have to do this before the birds get them, since they also understand the need for daily trips to the same spots. What you do get can be meager, and seem hardly worth the effort. But only if you think of them as a crop, or a product you're going to get in order to make something. If, as the girls do, you enjoy them for what they are--a beautiful and fleeting gift--your experience is vastly altered. They are meant to be eaten unwashed as soon as picked, and shared with whomever is standing beside you.