Where The Mulberry Grows

Each morning this time of year we are all on the hunt for the black fruit of the spare tree at the field’s edge. One has to wait, to be patient, for that change from tight red drupe to the miniature blackberry-looking ripeness and it can be difficult. The birds like them just as much and do not have a good grasp of the concept of “sharing”.

I have enjoyed this pleasure when I was very young – another tree, larger, and a mother that remonstrated – only the black ones and be careful not to fall. Those her only cautions, she did not mention the stained fingers and faces our gorging would produce. But as a city child, it seemed the most amazing thing – food free to eat and deliciously fresh. Why wasn’t every child in the tree?

The dogs like them just as much, Ranger having learned how to delicately part the leaves and reach underneath to nipper off the berries. It was new to Kota, though, and her large muzzle cannot move with the dexterity he has. Frustrated, she yanks and pulls at the limb, trying to get it on the ground, I think, where she could take it at her leisure. So I pick her small handfuls that she gobbles up in a moment.

It is a lovely spring morning tradition and it reminds me that I ought to plant a few Elsewhere. There is no work, otherwise, for the harvest. Just the knowledge that the season is brief. Not a bad reminder, really, of the tenuousness of all things. Glean what you can…and enjoy its rich, rare flavor.

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