Of course I was and am still exhausted from the trip to town. By the time everything, including 5 very large bottles of water and two five gallon buckets of paint, was unloaded and put away it was almost 8pm. And the only thing eaten all day was the aforementioned mini coffee, piece of biscotti, one granola bar, some potato chips, a banana and a donut. Yes, a donut. There was no time for the very wonderful Miss Cynthia’s organic veggie lunch.
I don’t know what possessed me to buy the donut. I don’t as a rule even like donuts. But maybe not having a proper lunch really weakened me. All I know is that I think I can still feel it in my stomach some 19 hours later. And my whole body aches. Is it the donut? It is not the road, which by some miracle was very recently graded after months and months of no maintenance whatsoever. Smooth sailing it was, all the way there.
Probably the donut. And the biscotti. And the coffee. All of which the author seldom allows to enter her body, her temple. The potato chips? No. My body is very accustomed to those.
I bought myself another treat yesterday that was not junk. The temple of CostCo was selling beautiful little trays of raspberries. Bright red, with hues of pink, juicy, and delicious-looking. Raspberries are something very near and dear to the heart and palate of the author. There is an emotional, historical attachment to raspberries that arises out of time spent at the family’s summer cottage on a lake in the Laurentian Mountains of Québec, Canada.
When I was a child and raspberries were in season, my mother would pack a group of us kids and usually one of her friends in the car and we’d drive out into the wilds of Québec looking for clearings in the forest where raspberries were sure to be found. Singing to scare away any black bears that might be feasting on the very fruits we sought, our buckets in hand, we would disperse into the thicket of raspberry canes that were often so high you couldn’t see someone only a few feet away.
The sun was hot, the air dry and the cicadas buzzed, adding intensity to the heat.
In our shorts and tank tops or bathing suits, we were scratched and tugged at by the thorny raspberry canes. We filled our buckets and our stomachs. There was nothing so delicious as those berries going directly into the mouth from the cane. We left the thickets hot, sweaty, disheveled with bright pink tongues lolling from our mouths. And excited, knowing what was to come.
Back at the cottage, we would have berries after dinner, with milk poured on top and just a bit of sugar. They melted on the tongue, the juices dripped down the throat, creating a sensation that was as close to heaven as I could imagine. The eyes closed in ecstasy.
My mother would make pies, wonderful raspberry pies that were eaten with almost as much pleasure as the berries and milk. Homemade raspberry pie is still my favorite, but of course, only made the way my mother does and preferably made by hers truly.
The trees have grown up around those berry laden clearings now and the dense bush has become a forest full of maturing maple, birch and some oak. A testament to the passage of time and the resilience of mother nature.
Change is the only constant.
But I still like my raspberries with milk and a bit of sugar.