The other day while meandering through a small stretch of wilderness, I wondered into an abandoned meadow and found myself in a dangerous situation.
It happened because I had made the rookie mistake of not being aware of my surroundings. Which is why, when I looked up, I found myself confronting what is arguably the most dangerous thing in the outdoors.
I’ll admit, as blackberry patches go, this one wasn’t all that big. But, as anyone who as any experience with blackberries knows, they don’t have to be big to maul you.
They just have to be loaded with berries.
And this one was.
Even so, I should have known better. I should have made myself big, spoke calmly to it and slowly backed off – for a man in shorts is no match for even the smallest of blackberry patches.
But the berries were right there, almost in reach.
In a situation like this, the prudent thing to do is remember the spot, make your way home, and then return later wearing a suit of chainmail or something else that might have lessen the injuries you are about to have inflicted upon yourself.
Instead, I did what anyone in this situation would do. I thought, “I’ll just be careful and pick the berries within easy reach.”
That’s just what the blackberry patch wants you to think. Also, there are never blackberries within easy reach when you have short arms.
I won’t get into the grizzly details about my life-or-death struggle. Suffice it to say, once I reached into the bush, it attacked my bare legs and inflicted injuries I might never recover from psychologically. And while I was looking at these, it grabbed me from the shoulder down and did not want to let go no matter how much I whimpered and begged.
Somewhere in between all that, it scratched my face up and somehow left marks on my back.
Blood flowed profusely. Pain shot through my body. My mind imagined me never being heard from again.
Which is when I thought, “I’ll just get one more berry.”
When I finally got home, Jenn looked at me and said, “Oh my goodness. So, we really do have cougars in the county?”
Then I told her that my many injuries were from a blackberry bush I got into a tussle with.
“I should have known,” she said. “The wounds seemed too severe to be from a cougar.”
“Yup,” I replied.
After she looked me up and down, she finally said, “I don’t want you going back to that blackberry bush again. It’s way too dangerous…”
“It’s loaded with berries,” I replied.
She gave me a look like I was an idiot and then handed me protective goggles and said, “Get a bunch. They are $4.99 a pint right now.”
And that is exactly what I did. I got her some that evening and then went back the next morning for some more. And I will probably continue doing so until there are not enough berries left to pick.
A lot of people would cut their losses and think that $4.99 was a small price to pay for safe acquisition, especially when you factor in the price of band aids and such. Not me. I really like fresh blackberries once you wash off the blood.
Besides, I find berry picking addictive.
Some people can quit cold turkey. But, not me. I’m on the patch.