When you're a holiday maven, it's hard to keep up with all the holiday traditions you develop. this year I missed my usual July/Lotus Moon water lily paddle on Lake Washington, but I didn't miss my Lammas blackberry picking, a tradition I developed to simulate in Seattle the Irish custom of climbing high mountains on the Sunday before Lughnasad to pick bilberries.
Usually I go blackberry picking on the Sunday before Lammas with my friend Michael after our usual Sunday breakfast. We go to the blackberry bushes that grow along the Burke Gilman trail, right below the University of Washington and the I-5 bridge. But we didn't go on the Sunday before Lammas because we were both in a hurry to go someplace else and we didn't think the berries would be ripe (it's been overcast in Seattle in recent weeks).
Luckily I got another chance to go berry picking on Friday, August 1st, because my car got a flat tire and I was delayed in heading out of town to a Lammas festival. So I made a solitary pilgrimage to the berry bushes. As you can see from the photo, there were a few ripe ones on these bushes, but I couldn't reach them. But all I had to do was cross the street. On the other side of 40th, I found plenty of warm, sweet, ripe blackberries. I brought home a basket full to share with my daughter.