Sarah - Sugar Land, Texas
Entered on October 17, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in picking blackberries in April with my dad. When I think about blackberries, I am five again, and I can’t help but to be happy, if only for a moment, no matter what else is going on in my life at the time. When I was growing up, there was a large field in between back yard and the road. I lived in Houston but when I was in this field, I felt like I was in another place, a beautiful place. I loved this field and I especially loved it in April. My birthday is in April, and a birthday is very special to a child. Mine was made even more special by the appearance of blackberries in that field. My dad would take me through the fence when the blackberries were ripe and give me a giant mixing bowl to fill with them. The field was my own place and my dad and I were the only people in the world who ever went their and all the blackberries belonged to me. I learned that to look for red berries because they were easier to spot than the deep, almost black, purple color of the ripe berries, but where there was red, there would be purple, and purple was what I wanted. I loved how the purple would stain my fingers and tongue, darker and darker with each one. On each berry, there are lots of tiny berries and I loved how each individual piece burst on my tongue at the same time and filled my mouth with the sweet, tangy juice. The blackberry bushes had thorns, which made it hard to pick the berries but all the more satisfying when my bowl was full, and the bowl always got full to the brim. My dad and I would come back through the fence and present two large mixing bowls full of blackberries to my mom and my little sister because it was always just the two of us who went picking.

When I was five, my family moved to a house that didn’t come with a blackberry field but my dad and I went back every April to see if the berries were ripe. In the last several years though, we’ve only gone once. The field doesn’t seem as vast and impressive to me now, like it did when I was five, and it is getting overgrown, but it is still there, in the middle of the city, which always surprises me. It is a part of my childhood that will always be there for me to reflect upon. I believe people should grow up but never completely leave childhood behind. I never want to forget how such a simple thing brought such a feeling of pure joy and happiness, and I never will. Sometimes I like to notice the simple things and it is the details I notice and that give me pleasure because it is simple, not complicated like the stress and responsibilities of adult life. I’m not saying “I don’t wanna grow up.” I am saying that keeping in touch with my childhood innocence and wonder until the end of my life will keep me well.