Friday, January 23, 2015

The Yum Approach

“There are only two mantras, yum and yuck; mine is yum.”                                                                -Tom Robbins

On a visit to the Seattle area back in August, we were fortunate to arrive in the middle of peak blackberry season. We took the "yum approach" to dealing with the thorny hedges that armor every roadside around Puget Sound, stopping to feast on fruit and gather enough to bake a pie. As we munched, it was easy to imagine the edenic world based on the virtues of berries and briars advocated by Bernard Mickey Wrangle in Tom Robbins' treatise to Rubus armeniacus in "Still Life With Woodpecker." Plenty of food to feed the masses and brew sweet wine; shelter from the elements provided by arches of sturdy stems and broad leaves; elegant dusky-hued light filtering through the bowers; blackberries for biofuel; a natural thorny defense system.  Although the plant is considered a "yucky" noxious invasive weed in the region, even vegetation management agencies have surrendered to these vigorous vines, and no longer require landowners to exercise any attempt to control them. 

Plants like these make me think that perhaps the species we label as pests are the ones we need the most. 

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