Blackberry Season

Once upon a time I made the mistake of giving my dog a blackberry.

In order to understand the seriousness of this mistake, you have to understand something about my dog.  You see, my dog Marly seems to think that God was talking exclusively to her when He said in Genesis 1:30: “To every beast of the earth and to every bird of the heavens and to everything that creeps on the earth, everything that has the breath of life, I have given every green plant for food.”

Marly loves every kind of green (and other colored) plant.  I first discovered this when she was just a puppy.  She was begging in the kitchen while I was peeling an orange, and knowing that most dogs hate citrus, I decide this was a wonderful training opportunity.  I tossed her a piece of orange, expecting her to grimace and step away.  Instead, she snatched it up and begged for more.  Ever since then, anytime that first whiff of citrus is released from a peeling orange, her four feet come skidding into the kitchen.  That plan backfired.

In addition to oranges, Marly loves grapefruit, bananas, green beans, potatoes, squash, carrots, apples, blueberries and – you guessed it – blackberries.


Marly the dog looking eagerly at a blackberry bush.

She’s got that crazed blackberry picking look in her eyes!

I wish you could have seen the look on her face the day she suddenly realized that this amazing delicacy was growing all alongside one of our favorite hiking trails.  Her eyes sprung open in astonishment as she watched me pluck a berry from the bush and stick it in my mouth.  Next thing I knew, she had dived into the middle of the bushes and was stripping the berries directly into her mouth.

Marly the dog eating blackberries from a bush.

Marly stripping blackberries from a bush.

“Hey!” I shouted.  “Save some for me!”

The only response was the shaking of first one bush and then another as she progressed deeper into the berry patch.

Every summer now we have a ritual, walking along our favorite trail, both of us scoping out the slowly ripening berries.  It’s a race to see which one of us can find the first ripened berry.  I admit that sometimes I resort to diversion tactics.  “Look over there!” I say, pointing to a small bush.  Then while she goes bounding one way, I run in the opposite direction, picking berries as quickly as I can.  I feel I am justified in such tactics; she is a much faster picker than me, so I need all the help I can get.

In peak season, there is always enough for both of us.  We may even pick companionably from the same bush.  She burrows underneath and gets all the deep and low berries; I pick high, only occasionally having to yell at her to stop shaking the bush because she’s making it hard to pick.

The head of Marly the dog, obscured by bushes, as she picks berries.

Marly is not afraid to burrow under a bush to get at the berries I can’t reach.

Blackberry season never lasts very long, but it’s a season I embrace with two hands and four paws.  Like other good things in life, it is one of God’s good gifts to us.  He did, after all, give us every green plant for food, and what a wonderful variety he provided!

It is hard to believe that we are already staring down the slope toward the end of summer.  With its long days and outdoor activities, summer always seems to go by quickly.  But then, I often find myself saying that about every season.  Are you having a busy summer?  Take some time amidst all the action to simply enjoy the gift of sunshine and flowering plants that God has placed around us.  Then, walk with Him into the next season. 

A berry-stained hand and dog paw.

Partners in the berry patch.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3:1).

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