Picking Blackberries on a Hot Summer Day

In the silence of the early morning dawn

The morning dew glitters on the grass.  

The long-awaited rains are over, giving life

To whiffs of earthy fragrance while quenching

The thirst of this sandy South Georgia ground.


“Get those blackberries picked before it gets too hot.”

“And put some shoes on,” Granny says,

“Snakes are crawlin’ everywhere, looking for water.”

We leave without shoes anyway; the damp dirt and 

The water-beaded grass feels familiar to our feet.


It’s light out, and the road, muddy from the rain

Leads us away from the house to the briar patch.

Rays of sun boastfully claim morning as darkness fades. 

The cows slowly amble our way, quietly watching us

With no expectations in their dull, blank stares.


The first blackberry drops into the metal pot, breaking the silence.

Plink. Plink. Plink. We step into the prickly briar patch quickly

Plucking juicy berries, filling containers with repetitive soft thuds.

We move down the fence line, picking from the outside now 

Because we’re barefoot, and someone stepped in an ant bed.


The blistering sun has long since dried the damp grass, erasing 

The kindness of last night’s rain as the sandy ground whispers for more.

Pots now heavy; youthful arms tiring and unsheltered from the sun.

We watch for snakes, wishing we had worn our shoes for

The stubbled ground no longer welcomes our bare feet.


“Come back to the house, youngins,” Granny’s muffled voice bids.

“That sun is gettin’ too hot for pickin’ any more berries today.”

We traipse the short distance back, walking down a road well-trodden,

Knowing the footprints, we leave behind will always bring us back

To this welcoming place called home.