Still Pretty Good

Running fence for the cows around the last of the season’s grass, I find a single stubborn raspberry, a leftover from the long, hot days of August, when the canes bent under the weight of ripe fruit. It’s small and red and misshapen, a stunted heart. I pick it, let it fall into my open palm, tip my hand this way and that, watch it tumble over the creases and calluses. It’s raining; my boots and pant legs are soaked through. I’m cold. The cows are at the gate, watching, waiting. They’ve been eyeing this grass for days. They know how sweet it will be.

I tumble the berry again, note the missing lobes, the discoloration at its stem, wondering how it survived so far past its prime. Are the imperfections the result of its survival, or the cause? I want to believe the former, but can’t say why. For a moment, I consider not eating the berry, as if that might somehow convey respect, or the even just the small appreciation I feel for having found it. For the weight of it in my hand. For the pause in my day.

But no. Down the hatch. It’s not the best berry I’ve eaten, not by a long shot. It’s still pretty good, though.

7 thoughts on “Still Pretty Good”

  1. Most my days are like that stunted-heart berry. Not the best, still pretty good though. Wonder if that grabs you as a negative or positive sentiment?

  2. If imperfections are the result of our survival, we have the right to be proud that we have lived robust and vigorous lives, lives filled with sins and good deeds both. We are responsible, not God or fate.

    If imperfections are the cause of our survival, we have the right to be genuinely pissed off with life generally, and God (or some first cause) is even more unreasonable then we’ve thought these last 10,000 years.

    Could be a bit of both maybe. For good things can come from bad, and bad things can come from good.

  3. WHAT a delightful “tease!” Each sentence prolonged the anticipated ultimate fate of that berry; teasing me to consider the possibility that my own knee-jerk response to pop that surprise discovery into my mouth just might not be the outcome of this encounter. By delaying the final moment created a mounting suspense that allowed enormous enjoyment, reflection, and respect for “that last berry of the season” in addition to the delayed gustatory gulp.

  4. We’ve been enjoying a second harvest of raspberries from our neighbors canes. Not sure what kind they are but they bloom in Spring and Fall. So grateful she shares them with us and that she has promised us some of our own when our house it finished and we know where we want to plant them. I kind of like needing to walk down the road to share them with her. The sharing makes them all the sweeter! Happy Fall to the Hewitt clan!

  5. Your tale of the last misshapen raspberry made me think of its parallel to older folks who put thing off because they aren’t feeling all that well, not knowing if despite their ills, that day might be the best that they feel for the rest of their lives. Next time that I’m in that situation, if there is a next time, I’ll try to be a bit more aggressive (persuasive?) in my coaxing.

  6. I had some raspberry plants I took from Michigan to my new home in NY. Well, they didn’t do much because we’ve got black walnut soil, so I dug them out and threw them in the waste pile. I kept one though, stuck it in a crappy little plastic container (plant hoarder). It wilted through last summer’s drought like conditions and I figured it was dead. Early summer this year, the darn thing perked up in it’s neglected crap dried up soil in the plastic pot, and gave us some big, plump berries……….what the hell!? I’m convinced that raspberries and black raspberries are great ‘climate change’ plants 🙂 (Goji berries too, but they are not the most convenient of plants…they mostly drive me insane). Glad you ate the berry….if you had not, I would declare that you’re over analyzing and not being in the moment. That’s my philosophy on fresh food anyway….EAT IT.

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