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Bon Journal

Berry obsession

It was a hot Saturday afternoon. Everyone I knew was taking a nap. Restless from washing dishes and doing other housework, I took two plastic bags and knocked on my neighbour's door.

She, too, was napping. Apologetically I asked for the keys to the gate of her allotment. I was ready to pick the rest of her berries.

Everyone living around the allotment was also asleep. I pinched the remaining raspberries and blackberries. Then I sat down and started picking the black and red currants. The sun felt hot on my straw hat. I bent under the branches to pick the most hard-to-get berries. Each time I thought I had finished picking a branch, more would show up.

After an hour of bending, squatting, kneeling, and sitting, I had almost two bags full. Yet I still couldn't stop. The act of picking berries was addictive.

In the middle of this fast plot of land filled with organic vegetables and berries sat the obsessive berry picker. It was like a take-or-pay natural gas contract. Either I pick it, or it dries up. Use it or lose it. So I was on a mission to rescue every ripe berry.

I stopped only when my bags were completely full. As I slowly walked to the gate, I dreamt of the organic berry jams I was going to make later that day.

My neighbour showed up at the gate. "Thank you for helping me pick these berries," she said to my surprise. "You're doing me such a big favour. Next year's berries will be even juicier than this year's." I suppose, if I had another plastic bag with me, I would have stayed for one more hour.

29 July 2001

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1 Jul pick your own berries