There was a place where blackberries hid…in plain sight!
When I was about 7 years old my dad cleared a field and piled up a bunch of logs, weeds, and vegetation in the center. I believe it was intended to be burned, but before that happened my brothers and I decided to explore it. From the outside you could see sticks, brush, thorny vines, and wild blackberries. The blackberries were just within reach of our young arms, but unattainable if you preferred not to be scratched and pricked by the thorns. As we explored further we found an opening of sorts, where logs had created a kind of hut or closed in fort. Of course, we crawled right in.
Inside was magical. The sunlight came through in patches and the earthy smell was thick as we squished in, trying to make ourselves smaller. Once inside, however, we noticed that there were no blackberries to be found. We crawled back out and located the berries, then crawled back in, looking in the direction they should have been. No luck. Blackberry Hideout was created that day and has lived on in my memory.
I often remember different parts of the play that took place there and even use my imagination to manipulate the experiences in my mind. During a particularly difficult or busy day, this comes in handy and leaves me feeling ready to jump back in to whatever it was I was dealing with.
The experiences children have play an important role in their lives. My experience with Blackberry Hideout helped me practice problem solving, creativity and imagination, among other skills. Practice doesn’t always mean perfect, as I distinctly remember how my arms stung from the scratches and cuts the thorns left. I just wanted some blackberries.