Abundance is a handful of blackberries. That’s my prevailing feeling about blackberries. I like any kind of berries but blackberries are special. Blueberries, strawberries and raspberries grow in the orchard. Blackberries grow wild and free all over my mountains. They’ve grown there for centuries. Back when the Native Americans roamed the hills and valleys, when wagon trains of pioneers traveled through, stopping to rest at Martin’s Fort, during the world wars and the civil war, all through the great depression, the blackberries were the one thing that never changed. They grew and flourished in good times and bad. They are timeless.

When I’m picking blackberries I’m no longer Anna Joy Graber in the 21st century, I’m a young Indian maiden gathering a pouch of berries to dry in the sun or a levelheaded pioneer woman preparing for the journey west. I can be part of a struggling family during the great depression struggling to make ends meet, or anyone really. Blackberries connect us. We become part of the same story, only appearing in different chapters.

I wonder sometimes why God does it that way. Why do we work hard and fertilize and water and weed for the others but the blackberries just grow. No help from us at all. I was on the farm Sunday afternoon. The pasture is full of blackberry bushes, red with unripened berries, drooping from the weight.


Why blackberries?

Why are they for us?

We don’t own them, we didn’t plant them. It’s like a gift, given freely every year with nothing asked in return.

They’re a lot like grace, really.

I’m learning a lot from blackberries.


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