Our first blackberries are popping up near the fence. Last year, when we planted the shrub, the kids were disappointed:
"No blackberries! Not even flowers."
Then then question:
"Why should we water something that isn't making berries?"
Finally, Prophet's accusation:
"I think blackberry bushes are lazy."
Patience, I urged. Patience. To myself as well as them.
This year, the kids were delighted when the blackberry shrub came to life in April. Her fringed leaves emerged a vivid green.
The Eldest used twine to situate her along the fence. I'm not sure how he knew to do it, only that one morning I wandered outside to find the string scaffolding gently supporting our bush.
In the first blush of May, ten delicate white flowers blossomed.
Prophet couldn't believe the lazy blackberry was finally "doing something".
We spent one morning sketching the leaves and blossoms. Before long, the white petals fell into the grass leaving behind stiff, light brown tendrils.
"But mommy, those aren't blackberries," Gnome asserted confidently. "Those are greenberries."
I told her we needed to watch a little longer- to observe and make notes. The blackberries were not finished changing.
She paused and nodded. It made sense to expect the waiting wasn't finished. It made sense to expect more marvels from our little blackberry shrub given the marvels that we'd already witnessed in the span of five weeks.
We wait and watch, our desire for immediate gratification up-ended by the simple marvel of ten blackberries fruiting in the yard. Nature study teaches us how to tend plants and understand ecosystems, but also how to wait for a fruit to ripen. How to silence the buzz of schedules and demands in the face of slower fruitings.