Don’t get me wrong—I love to move, to feel my body challenged, to feel the kinks and computer hours melt away during my walks and stretches. But right now, it’s also about the berries. Being active in nature brings all sorts of sensual delights.
And one of my favorite things to do on a park bench is to savor the berries I’ve just picked growing wild and within reach. A few weeks ago, it was mulberries plucked from a tree on the edge of the Hudson River, a short bike ride from my apartment. This weekend, it was the red red raspberries waiting for the taking along a segment of a path in Fort Tryon Park, at the northern tip of Manhattan.
I’ve learned how to harvest them—no pulling, just a slight pinch until they fall off in your hand. If they resist, let them be, they are not ready. (A life lesson there.)
I eat them slowly, savoring each berry, tasting the subtle differences among them, nature’s chemistry in all its wonderment and glory. The darker ones are sweet, the lighter ones a bit tart. The crunchy seeds for contrast. They are all tiny juicy tasty packets of goodness and joy–miracles made of earth, water, air, and sunlight.
These gifts of the earth are a sensual, healthy pleasure that keeps me coming back for more. When I lived in San Francisco, I’d nibble nasturtiums that were growing everywhere, including Golden Gate Park. Their peppery energy perked me up, giving the grey fog a little orange spark. And when I was growing up in Brooklyn, I’d pull out the slim petals of the big purple clover blooms and suck their sweet nectar.
So. what’s deliciously edible in your neck of the woods?