Blackberry Memories



Berries black and purple stain lips and fingertips as we pluck the heaviest from prickled vines, and eat twice as many as make it into the bucket.


Blackberry picking still evokes memories of many island holidays — a bramble-lined, gravel driveway to the big green gate with a weathered ‘Westgyle’ sign…



yellowed arbutus leaves crunching under foot,
rocky shelves of shoreline to explore, and
a point where, at night, we would lay on our backs
and search out constellations;
knee high meadow grasses that hid
an old abandoned well,
badminton birds smacked into branches
that overhung a dirt court
outlined with crushed oyster shells;
walks to the marina to spend the daily dime or quarter
on a handful of jawbreakers
or perhaps a bottle of soda pop.


The aroma of a fresh-from-the-oven blackberry crisp will always bring back late summer memories from long gone years, even though these berries were picked in a neighbour’s yard just last weekend.

As we move into the post-summer days of October, what memories do you have that linger and bring a smile?


11 thoughts on “Blackberry Memories

  1. Joseph says:

    The sound of water always takes me back. Not only to the current summer but back to my childhood growing up on the lake.

  2. Judith Robl says:

    Yum! I can smell the tart and taste the rich berry-sweetness under the crunch topping. Now where can I lose that ten pounds I just gained from this fantasy?

  3. joylene says:

    First of all I have to say that as I walked through the bush yesterday to visit my neighbour, I passed two big piles of bear poop filled with berries. I’m not sure why but I thought by that stage the berries would have been dissolved into mush. Nope.

    Memories. Ah, I grew up on a farm in the lower mainland and there isn’t enough space to mention all the wonderful memories i have all this time of year. As I stop to reflect, one of the first things to come to mind is the aromatic scent of autumn in the air. Misty air scented with wet leaves, ripened berries, aged cut grasses, and the strong overpowering scent of new rubber boots.

  4. Great post and love the new picture of you , Carol. I am a fall baby and it is my favorite time of year. Brooklyn born and bred was no excuse for me not to spend shorter days, the hot October sun at my back, roaming through the apple orchids in Dutchess County in NY. My mother was farm raised, my dad an old fisherman and seaman, we were treated to tons of nature outside the confines of the city streets.

    The apple picking, bushels of fruits and vegies for canning and the great joy of the pumpkin patch could not compare to being sent to the basement months later to get a apples for baking. I learned to cook and bake early and apple pie became my best … phone requests for Thanksgiving came from all my mom’s friends and relatives. The days my parents did all the paring and cleaning and I did all the baking are some of my best memories. The aroma of pies in the oven, the warmth, the laughter and the joy of my brother and dad delivering my freshly baked apple and pumpkin pies are indelibly etched on my soul.

    The blackberries also reminded me of the early mornings in the wide open fields across from my aunt’s house where my brother and I would be sent to pick berries, or following my aunt in her garden as she slice rubbarb for her strawberry rubbard pies. Gee, I loved this post 🙂

  5. Sue Harrison says:

    I don’t think we have that kind of blackberries here in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. At least I’ve never seen them! They look wonderful. Do they taste more like blueberries or raspberries? I took a walk today with our dog in the crunchy fallen leaves and went back in my mind to my grandmother and grandfather’s apple orchard. My brother and aunt and I used to play there in the fall, putting apples on a stick to see who could fling them the farthest. Such wonderful memories! Thank you for this great post~

  6. Keli Gwyn says:

    I remember picking blackberries with my sisters when I was growing up–the scratched arms, stained fingers, and buckets that didn’t fill as quickly as our bellies. Ah, memories. =)

    I’m looking forward to the change of seasons. Here in the Sierra Foothills of California we get little to no rain from the end of May to the first of October. Our first storm of the season is brewing, and I’m eager for the feel of raindrops on my face once again.

  7. Katt says:

    Great post—I remember picking blackberries with my Grandmother. Fast forward a few years to memories with my son—-I remember looking at his little bucket—I could count the berries on one hand. Me—“What’s up?” Him, “having trouble finding ones good enough to pick”, he smiled—blackberry stained lips and teeth—ahhh the memories!

  8. christicorbett says:

    Love that picture!

    As for me with the fall memories, it would have to be raking up leaves and watching my twins play in the piles. Their squeals of glee more than made up for having to re-rake :).

    Christi Corbett

  9. karen evans says:

    Oh, yum, that looks delicious! I’ll be right over. 🙂 My summer memories are picking tomatoes and strawberries.

  10. Paula Osborne says:

    Thanks for the memories, I too remember days of youth when my sister and I would go blackberry picking and Mom would make a blackberry jam cake for us. one yr after we were grown and both visiting home we decided we would go again and got on old clothes and grabbed our buckets and over the hill we went, it began to rain and we still stayed looking then it thundered and lightning zoomed trough the skies, we came in soaking wet and Mom just shook her head at two grown women not knowing to come in out of the rain.

  11. I love hearing of the memories that my blackberry reminiscences have dredged up for you! Thanks to all of you for sharing them.

    Sue asked if blackberries taste more like blueberries or raspberries, and I’d have to say neither. Their taste is distinctive, although they resemble raspberries in both looks and how they grow.

    Joylene, I don’t think I’d be sticking around long enough to check out your “bear poop” discovery! It reminds me of how much the bears enjoy the autumn abundance. Friends on the island use to have difficulty harvesting their apples because of bears… they’d look out the kitchen window and regularly see the trees being robbed. I’ve seen two bears so far this fall, fortunately both at a distance.

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