All along the left fenceline of my lawn, there are wild blackberry bushes growing.
Bush after bush, heavy with berries. Green, red, and black. When they're ready for picking, they are black, fat, soft, and so heavy they start to bend the branches.
You can pick them and pop them right into your mouth. They are warm and sweet and juicy.
What could be a more idyllic summertime activity than picking and eating fresh berries right in your own lawn?
But there is one catch. Snakes like blackberry bushes, too. They hide in the shade of the bushes. Apparently they don't actually eat the berries, just the small rodents who do eat the berries. They don't want any trouble, but if a child comes running up to them, they will react. They will strike, out of fear.
So now it's a question of balance. I want my kids to know the pure summer joy of picking and eating berries. The pure pleasure of jumping out of the pool, running across the yard dripping wet, and grabbing a snack right off of the bush.
But I need to caution them. I need them to be aware of the danger that could be lurking in the bushes.
I want my kids to be joyful, not fearful.
To have fun, yet be cautious.
To feel the pleasure, but never the pain.
I just want them to pick the blackberries.