Some journeys you take so often that eventually you stop noticing you’re on a journey. Your brain decides the intricate details of the trip are no longer important and your focus shifts inwards to thoughts and daydreams. In my last year of university I took an hour long commute, and most days I’d step onto the train and within the blink of an eye I’d arrive at my stop.
This jump inward doesn’t just happen while travelling. It happens wherever you go. From the first moment you step into a new environment your brain is training itself to block out details for the next time you visit. This is why new environments can create anxiety. Your brain overflows with information and it doesn’t know how to cope. At home your brain can shut off. It knows everything, so you can relax.
Have you ever noticed how a long walk through a new environment seems to take forever? Your mind is so conscious, taking in all the details that you don’t get a chance to daydream. Walking back you always say to yourself “it seemed shorter on the return.” This is because your brain is less conscious of the environment, you’ve already seen it, so you’ve got more time to lose in your mind.
The main problem with all of this is that after a while, your brain becomes so lazy that it ignores small changes in regular environments. It’s just not important to notice them. You never realise the seasons are changing, a tree losing colour, leaves falling off the tree and later leaves growing back. Often you wont notice a change, then one day suddenly you realise something’s happened. Your garden is filled with flowers, but it wasn’t like that yesterday…was it?
With all of this in mind a lot of people probably haven’t noticed one thing: it’s blackberry season. I missed it myself. When I walk, I walk with my eyes on the horizon, often missing anything around me. Walking a new path recently though, I noticed some blackberries. After realising they were there I decided to consciously search for more. For a few days I decided to glance at every bush I passed to see if it contained blackberries. The results really astonished me. Quite simply there are blackberries everywhere. Any green area is almost guaranteed to contain a blackberry plant and this is good news for jamists and pie makers a like.
Knowing that there were a wealth of blackberries out there I set out with my sister to go and pick some from a few patches I’d scouted out. The first was a large bush outside a pub. The berries were very small and tarte, but there were dozens of them, all perfectly ripe. In the ten minutes while we were picking almost a dozen people passed by. I wonder why a blackberry bush that is passed so often is never picked? Either people just don’t notice it, or worse, people can’t be bothered to pick it. Both seem reasonable, especially after a few people made the point to me that “you could buy them from the shops for a few quid!”
This to me is pretty stupid argument. “Why pick free fruit, when you could pay for it?” It’s disappointing to know so many people are so out of touch with their food nowadays (me included!) and that it’s come to a point where people can’t even be bothered to spend half an hour picking fruit. People no longer care about food or where it comes from, as long as it’s easy to get. We can’t even be arsed to do simple things because we can pay to have them already done for us. Isn’t this called laziness? Personally I believe there’s great satisfaction in picking your own fruit. Plus it tastes so much better than fruit in the shops!
After picking over the pub bush I looked into my container to see I’d only picked a small amount of berries. The variety of berries on the bush were small but with a very high yield. “We need to find a patch with bigger berries!” I told my sister. So we went off to another bush, this time a small one hanging over a garden fence. Unfortunately this bush wasn’t too large and I only managed to nab a few tiny berries off it. Nevermind though, there’s always going to be more about.
Before heading to our next bush, my sister and I decided to go to her house to pull some apples from the tree in her garden. My plan was to made an apple and blackberry pie. As we pulled up to the house my sister suddenly remembered “oh, I think I have a blackberry bush in my back garden. You might want to look at that.”
Heading into the back garden I went straight for the blackberry bush. It was one of the largest I’d ever seen, hanging over the entire fence of her back garden. The berries were five times the size of the ones we’d previously picked and totally ripe. “I didn’t even realise this was here” she said. It’s amazing what you don’t notice until you really look, even in your own back garden!
Within five minutes I’d managed to pick around two and a half pounds of berries and ate probably another half pound. As well as being large the berries were sweet and barely sharp at all. Perfect for a pie.