Blackberry Winter

May 5, 2017

Spring, in all her glory, has been reigning supreme lately.  Flowers blooming, trees leafing out, and birds!  Every day we see birds, and hear even more!

This morning, a rufous-sided towhee sat on a branch and sang, lifting its beak in joyous abandon!  Then, a few miles and hours later, a rose-breasted grosbeak put on quite a display.  It flew from one tree to another, stopping to perform a melodious melody each time.  After about five repetitions of this, the grosbeak alighted on a dead branch, broke a twig off, then, looking around furtively, flew off into the far trees, presumably to add to its nest!

“Yes,” I thought, “Spring is here, with warm winds, sun-kissed plants, and beauty all around.”

May 6, 2017

We awoke to wind raging through the tree-tops, rain spattering on our tent, and fog wrapping cold, clammy arms around us, sending icy tendrils down our necks.  It was as if a sleeping Winter had opened one eye, yawned, and bit down upon us with its last snaggly icicle tooth.  “What happened to Spring?” I whimpered as I layered up with sweater, jacket, raincoat, and winter hat, and shouldered a pack nearly emptied of clothes.

We walked, shivering in the wind, as Winter laughed and shook the landscape.  “It’s okay,” I comforted myself.  “The weather forecast says sun tomorrow.  This cold won’t last long.”

May 7, 2017

The sun lit the morning treetops with bright promises.  Jay and I had been blessed with a fortuitous meeting with new friends, Alan and Mary Ashworth, who had offered us a warm bed in their home the night before.  Now, as we stepped outside to go to church with our new companions, cold Winter laughed and blew icicles under my coat.  The sun was shining, but losing the battle with temperature.

“Locals call this Blackberry Winter,” Mary remarked as we hurried into the warm car.

“Blackberry Winter?” I asked.  “I don’t think I’ve heard that term before.”

“Yes, there’s always a cold snap sometime during the first week of May,” Mary replied.  “Some folks say it helps the blackberries grow.”

Well, if a few days of cold helped the blackberries grow, I was all for it.  After all, walking while wearing all my warm clothes just meant that my pack was lighter.  This week was going to be fun, as I hiked through a Blackberry Winter.

IMG_20170512_185336
Blackberry blossoms soak up the sun and cold temperatures of a Blackberry Winter!

Author: Sarah and Jay Bigelow

Hi! We live in the Carson Valley in Nevada near Lake Tahoe. Sarah is a retired elementary school teacher, and Jay is a retired fish biologist. We are in our 50's, and have been married for 30 years.

2 thoughts on “Blackberry Winter”

  1. Sounds like your weather is mirroring ours. One day spring and the next winter. I’m glad for the warm house to retreat to when necessary. Stay warm and happy packing.

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