Blackberry Molasses

If you’ve ever been to my house you know that my backyard is a hot mess; treacherous if you will. I have weeds back there as tall as I am. Not that I’m all that tall but that’s pretty tall for vegetation. I’ve been saying I’m going to get it landscaped since I moved in but something else always took precedence. Every New Year’s Eve I write out my goals and expectations for the upcoming year. This year I made the commitment to landscape my back yard. I still haven’t done it yet but its only May so I have time.

Even though my yard is a mess, I like to open the curtains to let the sunshine through. As I was sitting on my couch enjoying the sunshine one Sunday afternoon something in the yard caught my eye. They appeared to be little red buds,  wildflowers I assumed. Upon closer inspection I discovered what they really were, blackberries!

Just to be sure, I googled the mess out of blackberries before I even touched those things, let alone allowed them to pass the threshold of my lips. Low and behold my research confirmed that there were in fact blackberries. In case you don’t have the luxury of having your own personal wilderness, you probably don’t know that blackberries grow on a vine type plant among thorns and thistles. The package at the grocery store gives no indication of this. Blackberry plants aren’t friendly little plants like strawberries. No wonder it cost 5 bucks for a package of ten berries. Somebody risked their life and dermatological well-being to pick those things! I recently mustered up the courage to take in my first harvest. I donned a denim jacket, gloves, and boots and prayed that I was the only creature interested in harvesting berries that day. It was that harvesting that inspired this post.

Now, my front yard isn’t going to be on the cover of Homes and Gardens anytime soon but I do a much better job managing it than the backyard. Why? Because that’s the part people see (and to keep the HOA off my back). I want to at least give off the impression that I care about the appearance of the exterior of my home. Now that I know what a blackberry plant looks like I realized that it has been trying to grow in my front yard also over the years. But because I keep a better eye on the front, I would pull up those thorny little sprigs before they could flower and produce fruit. I pulled them up because they didn’t look like they belonged there amidst the rest of my grass. That made me think, how many other times have I uprooted a blessing in disguise because it didn’t look like it belonged where it was trying to flourish? Nothing wrong with nice grass but grass doesn’t produce fruit. Sometimes we try to make our lives look like we have it together but the fruit is where the mess is. As the ol’ saying goes, “You can’t have a message without a mess.” Now, I’m not advocating negligence or anything but sometimes messy situations deserve a closer look. The backyard is a hot mess but that’s also where the fruit is.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. I haven’t gone anywhere, only my inspiration and motivation did but I’m getting it back. I’m still working at the cafe but I’m now the assistant manager…or manager’s assistant depending on who you ask. I also still have my part time retail job. I didn’t anticipate being at either of these jobs this long but here I am. I didn’t anticipate enjoying or doing so well at either job but I am. To be perfectly honest, there are times when I get discouraged. There are times when I feel low and have to talk myself off of the ledge so to speak. Harvesting these wild blackberries among the bramble of my backyard made me think about looking for the fruit in the metaphorical bramble of my life. Even though my situation looks and feels messy, when I take a closer look at my life over the past 2-ish years, there’s fruit there.

Whenever I hear the word “blackberry” it makes me think of the song Blackberry Molasses from the 90s. Of course I was a kid when this song was on the radio and I always wondered why it wasn’t about pancakes. But now I get it.  Like molasses, sometimes progress and breaks in life seem slow. Sometimes life is tough. Hard times come but you have to keep moving forward and keep tilting the jar. When that good break finally comes, like molasses, it’s sweet. I don’t know if the artist would have the same interpretation but this is my blog so we’re gonna go with it. So until next time readers, I’ll leave you with this…

Blackberry molasses. One of the things that never change. You gotta keep pushin’ on. The sun don’t reign all  the time. There’s gonna be some heartache and pain.

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