Every Common Bush

our haywagon swallowed by this year’s growth of blackberry bushes

Earth’s crammed with heaven
And every common bush afire with God
But only he who sees, takes off his shoes,
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries~
–Elizabeth Barrett Browning in “Aurora Leigh”

All I wanted was a few blackberries.

I admit my objective was just to pick enough for cobbler for Sunday noon dinner after church, oblivious to God burning in the bushes towering over me, around me, snagging me at every opportunity.  If I had given it more thought, I would have realized the reaching vines hooking my arms and legs were hardly subtle.  The thorns ripped at my skin, leaving me bloody and smarting.  The fruit itself stained my hands purple, making them look freshly bruised.  I crushed fat vines underfoot, trampling and stomping with my muck boots in order to dive deeper into the bushes.  Webs were everywhere, with spiders crawling up my arms and dropping down into my hair.  I managed to kick up one hornet’s nest so I called it quits.

All I wanted was a few blackberries, so blinded to all the clues crammed in every nook and cranny of every bush.

All I wanted was a few blackberries, trampling on holy ground with well-protected feet, unwilling to be barefoot and tenderly vulnerable.

All I wanted was a few blackberries, the lure of black gold plucked at the cost of rips and scratches and tears.

What I got was burned by a bush…

and a few blackberries for tomorrow’s crammed-with-heaven cobbler.

2 thoughts on “Every Common Bush

  1. Yup those scratches hurt from the wild blackberry bushes … so when a friend told me she planted bushes that are thornless and sells the berries from her back yard in Ferndale I was very interested , I had never heard of this variety so I jumped at the chance to try them , as I missed the taste of fresh blackeberries after moving here to this side of the state, so I opted for the thornless variety … they are not as sweet or as juicy but giving up being attacked by the vines makes it worthwhile … so when my childhood friend Kay offered me some small sticks that would become vines from her back yard I said okay not knowing if they would grow on here or not with our harsh winters, but now I am happy to say 6 years later I have the best crop of blackberries around !
    The jam, pies and cobbler are totally amazing …I have a waiting list from people wanting my berries , I do have to pick early to keep from being attacked by yellow jackets that tend to be in the bushes but that is easy enough … thank goodnes as most of the yellow jackets are not stirring around at 5am … it is after 6:30 am when the sun is starting to get bright before most start to come out of hiding … So your poor hay wagon in the blackberry bush needs to be rescued before it become entangled so deeply that you can’t free it ! those wild blackberry bushes are very good at stealing farm equipment for their support system … good luck getting that hay wagon out and enjoy that cobbler !


  2. We have very few berry vines on our almond/walnut farm, but looking at the photo made my mouth water. Our berries have long been picked, and now the last of our grapes are being eaten by the yellow jackets. Eli and I knocked 5 trees today and picked 8 sacks of almonds. My horse shoer called and asked to buy a sack of both almonds and walnuts in the shell. He and his wife want to shell them as it’s much less expensive that way. I’m sure we will barter a trim or two. hehehe Thanks for sharing your life with us Emily! God is so good. And I’m so glad to be grounded on the farm.


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