Growing up in an extremely rural setting - Huck Finn didn't seem that strange to my brother and I - I have never feared the forest and wide open spaces as much as most. Yet after decades of concrete living the closest I was coming to the natural world was eating blackberries during my daily bike rides along Spanish Banks and up to UBC in late summer. I barely knew my huckleberries from a hole in the ground.
So I was eager to go picking chokecherries with my sister-in-law, whose kitchen concoctions amaze me and have become some of my most treasured Christmas loot: zuccini relish from her own garden, crab apple jelly from the tree in my parents' yard, canned salmon from the Fraser River fall fun.
My three young nephew helped us pick the berries. Okay, in all honesty ONE of my nephews helped us pick the berries while the others two ate raspberries faster than we could pick them and found the biggest caterpillar I have ever seen.
My nephews played a large part in my decision to move back home, along with my sister-in-law, my parents and all my other relations. In the city, I lived within shouting distance of people I wouldn't have recognized in a police lineup. Here, I'm surrounded by people who I'll eat Christmas dinner with.
I'll let you know now the wine turns out.