Black raspberries tempt a woods-edge hiker

After a couple of weeks of hot, muggy, wet weather that made a hike in the woods less than inviting, I finally overcame the summer doldrums and headed down the hill to the forest edge.

What a treat! Poking up through the greenery, clusters of shiny, dark-purple raspberries told me that my timing was perfect. I eagerly began plucking the juicy morsels by the handful. Ahh, Nature’s bounty!

My mood immediately brightened. The recent sweat and humidity became a distant memory. An indigo bunting sang a staccato welcome to its woods-edge territory. The too-sweet fragrance of the blooming milkweeds drifted on the cool breeze. Black-eyed Susans dotted the adjacent prairie.

Greedily searching for more of the tasty snacks, I ignored the brambles and mosquitoes that guarded the berries. I congratulated myself for finding the patch before the catbirds or robins or wild turkeys.  Trotting back to the house, I fetched a bucket in which to pick enough berries to garnish our bowls of ice cream for dessert. Margaret beamed her approval.

A lesson relearned: Don’t ignore the windows of opportunity that Mother Nature always seems to open for us. The time is NOW – whether it’s to pause to listen to a barred owl, to look again at the full moon creeping above the horizon, to watch a hummingbird darting among the lilies, to laugh at the baby oriole begging its parents for another grape jelly treat – or simply to savor the wild sweetness of a raspberry!

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