In the magical kingdom of earthly delights….
We traveled along a tree-lined path carrying plastic bags.
It was already heating up on a recent Iowa morning. I could feel the sweat seeping through my pores – velvet liquid accumulated under my cap and started a slow trickle down neck and back.
Debbie and I were taking a stroll through Chautauqua Park in Fairfield, Iowa. Soon we saw our first mulberry tree, laden with berry abundance. Out popped our bags, but few made it inside. We were gorging in the realm of berry heaven.
We kept walking, talking and taste-testing – tree after tree. Nothing like an early morning fresh berry breakfast! The white berries had a special creamy sweetness, and Debbie, with her fine berry discrimination could tell the difference between each tree. Some were sweeter than others, some not sweet at all, almost sour, some were plumper and juicier, some light pink and delectable.
A morning of picking and eating colored my clothes with large purple paint splashes. Debbie suggested I put the clothes in boiling water, “about the only way to get those stains out,” she said.
The day before I wandered by a neighborhood and came across giant mulberry trees and a large hedge filled with service berries – never saw them before. Hanging on a small tag tied to a branch hidden in the leaves was a sign that read, “Dear Neighbors, I would appreciate it if you did not take the berries. It has taken years of hard work and money to get them to produce. And everyone helps themselves so I don’t get any. I’d appreciate it if you let me have some!”
Have to make a confession – I did eat one! I could not resist tasting a berry I had never tasted before. Hmmm…..a bit like a blueberry only I picked an unripe one, shucks!
Back to our walk and popping purple sweets into open mouths. Debbie and I must have tried out most of the mulberry trees in the park that morning.
We finished our walk, and left the magical berry kingdom behind. Good timing, as just then my stomach started a loud round of grumbling.
As every grown child knows, you can never get enough of fresh-picked berries!
“When walking, walk. When eating, eat.” Rashaski · Zen Proverb
And when passing mulberry trees? Eat here now!