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.