Brambling

Sep. 26th, 2010 07:16 pm
missingopossum: (Default)
[personal profile] missingopossum
I've got terribly distracted cycling along the line of the old light-railway and started brambling. My fingers are stained a purple so dark as to be almost black, and so are my lips. I (and others both two-legged and four) have kept this section of bramble-hedge picked carefully bare over the last few weeks but the few days just past have been the most perfect bright dry autumn I can remember, and the sun has ripened more than enough of a new crop to satisfy demand and keep me happy for a good few minutes at least.

I scan the hedgerow, looking for the next ripe one; there's the sharp green of the completely unripe, blending into the leaves. Scattered here and there is the glowing, translucent red of those I'll not be eating till next week. All of these I pass by, of course.



Here's the true dark purple, but I know from the loose shape that it'll be a little over-ripe and past its best. It is, and comes apart over my fingers. I eat it anyway, licking my fingers clean as I go; it's jammy and sweet, but a little cloying. I love the contrast between the here-and-gone touch and taste of the juice and the gritty texture of the seeds that stay in your mouth and tell you it's a wild berry, not a tame cultivar.

That one looks good, dark and taut-looking, with each tiny round sub-berry tucked neatly into in perfect tight circles.But while mostly a tempting purple there are still a few red highlights and in retrospect it took a little too much effort to twist loose. However, I now have it in hand so once again I eat it anyway; it's tart and almost bitter but not at all unpleasant if you have my taste for lemons and coffee and dark, dark chocolate.

And there at last is a dark shiny purple that is tight to the fingers yet comes loose to the touch. It tastes as sweet as sherbert, with a bright freshness that I can only compare to citrus fruit. It's nothing like citrus in taste, it's far sweeter and deeper - but it has that same quality of juicy, light, bright sweetness. I keep hunting for more of the ripest. Those in the open are sun-warm on my tongue, melting and sweet. As I exhaust these I risk the thorns to look under leaves for hidden treasure and these are deliciously chilled; the low autumn sun is almost summery on my back and more than warm enough to ripen berries but too weak to heat the shade, even the shadow under a leaf.

I choose the berries nearest me first, and only then do I brave the stinging nettles and the brambles' own thorns. From time to time though, an incautious step still leads me into the sharp needle teeth, and every so often in my haste to reach the next target I turn a branch aside too quickly and impale my fingers. Brambles tend to have fine spines rather than solid thorns so often my impatience wins me a skelf finer than a pin along with my sticky purple prize. On the whole I don't mind; the rewards are worth the risk and the slow consideration required is part of the pleasure of brambling.



I lose track of time amid the close concentration of the search and the carnal pleasures of tasting each sweet berry while basking in the heat. Eventually, though, I find that I've picked the patch bare of the finest and ripest and finally move along. Brambling is done for today – but not yet for the season. I'm glad to say.

Date: 2010-09-27 10:35 pm (UTC)
ext_431376: (Default)
From: [identity profile] lordofthemoon.livejournal.com
You make brambling sound like an adventure :). I heartily approve.

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Missing Opossum

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