Refuge: Blackberries

by Zbigniew

“Blackberry vines are one of the first plants to appear when soil is left uncultivated or is exposed by clearing. Left alone, they form thick evergreen mats along the edges of fields, streams, power lines, railways, parkland, and highways. In dense urban areas, they may find space in cracked pavement, along fence lines, or in untended gardens and back lanes. Their strong, barbed canes will grow to reach several meters long, arching over fences, walls, and small buildings. The surfacing of Rubus ursinus in Vancouver is an example of real wild.”

Stacey Moriarty, “blackberry”, Vancouver Matters


A cluster of malls are nearby, but this is the antipode of greasy food courts and ready-made goods. At this confluence of stream, railway, highway and park, cash and credit have no force but a bounty of sweet fruit is on offer for no greater price than a little labour. A refuge marked by stained fingers, and the odd -if vicious- scratch.

The days shorten, the air cools; the quiet blackberry harvest underscores the change.