Cascades of over-ripe, late-season blackberries scold me with their fermented sugars, leaving sticky liquor all over my hands: “What, did you think we would wait for you?” The chickens trail along behind me, getting drunk off my discards.
“When summer’s over, it’s gone,” the berries whine, like my children bemoaning the spate of babysitters who bide the time reading book after book, but who don’t get the harvest in. While I’m off protesting, sending out press releases, doing interviews, the kids and ripe fruit miss me. On the counter sits a new box full of empty jelly jars, pristine in their unmet potential.
Every choice has its converse: if I’m doing the activist stuff, which feels like the big work of mothering, there’s a lot of other mothering work that I miss out on. Like cooking dinner, tucking people in, and canning the jam. This year, I missed the first day of school, and I missed the blackberries. Hopefully those are the biggest things, and I didn’t miss any unrecoverable moments of ripeness in my children.
My son, declaring some mix of independent thought and resentment, insists he doesn’t care if they build the planet-killing pipeline. Sigh. Mom’s on the front page in her handcuffs. I’m so not gonna care about that stuff. I just want her home. I just want jam.
For now, I’ll let him have the final word on this thorny issue.