Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Mulberries Were Sweeter Then

A few weeks ago was mulberry season in DC. There's no mistaking it: find a piece of sidewalk stained purple with dropped berries, look up, and there is a mulberry tree with berries so ripe that their own weight pulls them off their branches. And since I walk the dog and the Monkey every day, we have every possible opportunity to wander under the mulberry trees along our way. I reach up, gently pinch a thin-skinned berry, and give it to the Monkey. Or maybe I eat the berry, to make sure it's safe...and to taste it.

His clumsier fingers break the berry, but he gets it into his mouth and warbles "More!"

This year, the big mulberry bush near our alley had been cut back. That's great for everyday passage down the sidewalk, but it's a drawback during mulberry season. I reached up as high as I could, but I could only snare a few berries. I tried being a little crafty, tugging the highest branch ends I could reach to bring the berries along the middle lower, but there will still few I could reach. And maybe the weight of the Monkey -- so much greater than last year -- keeps me closer to the ground.

Another mulberry tree on the next block was similarly out of reach.

It was better last year. The Monkey and I had stumbled upon a giant mulberry tree in the middle of a marshy forest overlooking a river. The thick, swampy air lent a little spice to the sweet, inky juice of the mulberries. There were so many that the Monkey had his fill, and my own shirt and chin were stained.

And before I knew it, most of the mulberries in the neighborhood were on the ground or gleaned by birds.


At 4:41 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

But the good news is: Next year after the pruning the mulberries will be better than ever.


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