Our choice of route dictated by access to berries.
Rasberries planted on borders up against property lines and sidewalks tempt us to taste but not feast. We are desirous but not greedy and take only three or four tiny berries. But as much we are chastened by ownership. These are not our berries. But the nearness to our reaching…it is amazing how much flavor lives in one tiny instance of a thing, perhaps made more intense in our furtive theft. A handful would not impress so well.
With greater freedom, the greater gift, we trace a course abundant of mulberry trees. This is the city’s most wonderful weed; its very abundance becoming an identifying stain.
We have our favorite trees, or favorite berries. Each tree along our walk offers its own unique taste. I prefer large berries with more resistance to bursting, tart and lively. And I will eat my fill. But here too I am conscious of the act. The cars driving by prompt a kind of shame: these berries are beneath me. If there are others on the same path, I will walk by without consideration and remark how the fruit stains our soles.
As if the weed cannot feed the human. As if only what is planted, what is cultivated by our own design should sustain us.
These berries, from trees found in alleys, not yet deemed a nuisance because mostly unnoticed, are for the birds perched on their branches, for the flies born upon their pulp.
Do the birds judge by taste?
Still there are so many berries soaking into the ground…
the tree must enjoy the labor of its fruiting.