I like to tell the story of when my daughter was six, how this normally mild mannered child, threw a royal tantrum, a veritable hissy fit, in the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. We had wandered the halls marveling at all the beautiful works of art; canvases of iconic iris, sunflowers and sun-washed hillsides and starry nights, and the dreary Potato Eaters.
When it was time to leave we exited through the gift shop (as they always have you do no matter the country) where her eyes lit upon a paint set. I checked the price and quickly calculated the gilders needed. It was a steep amount for a simple paint set so I hurried her along. The next thing I knew she was screaming at the top of her lungs...I NEED TO PAINT!!! She obviously was inspired by the visit.
Today as I wandered around the yard, scuffing my feet in the sandy dirt of my future front yard that still awaits compost and topsoil, stone and edging, trees, shrubs, grasses, herbs, flowers and fruit, I felt a similar longing. I NEED TO PICK SOMETHING!!
At that moment I spied them. A few purple blobs on the nondescript strip of vegetation that the grader had missed when scraping the lot. Mulberries. Mind you, most people think of them as trash trees, but so welcome this evening. I picked a handful of dark fruits surprised at the number of ripening berries.
Mulberries are considered messy, weedy, and picking them a kind of old fashioned, hard-up activity. We had a tree in Kansas. I would spread a sheet under the branches and shake the berries loose. Although they are a bit bland I added them to red currants and alpine strawberries atop lemon cheese tarts. Another time I combined them with apricots in a pie that I felt was so-so but my nephew devoured with gusto. Tonight I just ate them one by one until they were gone.
There's something about finding and harvesting free fruit that feels good. I'm just a born forager.
With that tiny triumph I looked next door at the home we rented while we were building. It sits empty and forlorn now. However I have plants there in the ground awaiting transplant over here. As I perused the yard I noticed there were actually quite a few blooms going unappreciated. I did a loop and returned with a bucket of random flowers and foliage. I made a bouquet for myself and called it a night. It felt good to pick stuff.