SaddleBrooke Ranch Writing Guild

The SaddleBrooke Ranch Writing Guild is a group dedicated to improving our writing skills. We meet on the second Tuesday of each month in the La Vista room at the La Hacienda Club from 1 to 3 p.m. If you have any questions about the club, please contact Joy Hellard at [email protected]

Blackberry Summers

Joy Hellard

Bare-foot Appalachian child

Nut-brown skin kissed by a Kentucky summer.

Eyes opening to curtains

Billowing in the caressing breeze

Of a cloudless blue morning.

A pajama-clad chaser of sunrise butterflies

As Mother hung bed sheets to dry.

Wading feet numb and tingling

From early June creeks

Fed by mountain snow—clear and swift.

Cradled in the boughs of a swaying sycamore

Wind teasing my hair—

Blissfully rocking to music only trees compose.

Flying bareback through sun-dappled forests

Fallen logs our steeple jumps.

Legs sweat-coated as evening fell,

Perfumed in the heady aroma of horse.

Gazing skyward

Cushioned in velvet Bluegrass,

Watching clouds dance their kaleidoscope steps,

Casting patchwork shadows

Across the valleys and down the mountain slopes.

The bursting sweetness of ripe golden corn

From the family garden—

Butter rivulets running down my chin.

Infectious girlfriend laughter

Until sides ached and breath came in snatches.

Gathering fireflies in nights colored with twilight luster—

Insectile flashlights captured in a Mason jar.

Mother’s voice calling me home

As evening closed its eyelids for the night.

To dream of daybreak

Blackberry picking—

Tin pails filled to the brim—

Berries big as a grown man’s thumb,

Fingers and mouth purple-coated—

Father’s grin—stealing berries from a ceramic bowl,

Mother’s giggle—swatting him away.

Blackberry cobbler—mouthfuls of summer splendor—

The flaky crunch of oven-warm treasure,

Sun-drenched berries swimming in sugary goodness,

Homemade and shared with love.

So long ago—but on warm nights—

When the breeze plays with my hair—

I remember those

Blackberry Summers.