Hell, Fire and Blackberries

Between mid-Janurary and mid-Feburary is the best time to clear-temporarily-blackberries here in Cascadia. mr. mud has been slowly trying to build a perimeter fence around the hideout here in Blackpoint. The point of this fence building exercise isn't to exclude 'others' but to be a greater service to the animal rescue-especially dog rescue-people in the area. Since moving to the Powell River area i've met and been inspired by all the folks involved in this nobel cause and unless the property is well fenced there's no way to foster any of the dogs or other creatures so deserving of a second chance. The lives of so many of our innocent cousins are hell, not because of anything they do to deserve such a fate, but because so many short-sighted, selfish rogue primates find it easy to abandon or abuse those they see as seperate from themselves and therefore discardable.

Fence building in the desert or on the prarie is one thing, fence building here in glacial till and through the mother of all passive resistors-the blackberries, is another.

The first step here is to temporarily clear a pathway through the resistance forces. This is best done in mid-winter when the blackberries are at their most dormant. Each and every attempt to accomplish this part of the task is an excercise in blood letting. Blackberries can teach us many lessons about the hubris of humans. i'm convinced they communicate with each other in some alien way because the instant i cut one cane the other canes nearby, both the green living and old brown apparently dead, seem able to turn their thorns at and attack the intruder. Their thorns have tiny fishhook shaped barbs at the end that they leave behind embeded in the flesh to remind us of our transgression long into the future.

Of course, as Tom Robbins explains so well in his novel 'Still Life With Woodpecker', there are billions of juicy sweet berries throughout coastal Cascadia every August but there is only one blackberry plant. It reproduces canes from both its roots and by rerooting canes that have bent down to rejoin their family in the earth. That's why any apparent clearing of them is at best a temporary illusion, never a victory.

After clearing an area through which the fence will run there's a huge pile of cut canes to deal with. After licking my wounds i've found it cathartic to introduce them to the element of fire. Yesterday i tended and was warmed by the flames of their crackling bodies confident that the fire and the clearing were merely a stage in the ultimate evolution of the next dominant species now arising to replace us-the overly confident two legged group-whose one real purpose is to keep creating the ideal conditions for the one blackberry plant's future rule.