Have I ever mentioned

my strange compulsion to eat berries I find in the woods? I'm not just talking about berries I can identify, but any kind of berry. Ok, not any kind of berry. I do know that white berries are the most likely to be poison of any other color berry. So I don't eat white berries (I'm not stupid, you know). Blue/purple berries are the least likely to be poisonous, so I generally try any berries of those colors that I find. Red berries are less likely than white berries to be poisonous, but more likely than blue berries. So I think hard about red berries before I stick them in my mouth, but, I have to admit, I do usually stick them in my mouth. Now orange berries are getting a little close to white in color, so I do tend to avoid the orange colored berries that I find.

I don't know why I do this. It could be a remnant of the days when I was convinced that I was really a changeling and that my real parents were living in my true home over in the Undying Lands to the West. Or it could be the pioneer survivalist genes coming out. But it gives me a kick to "discover" new edible berries. Like I could live off the land if I had to. When I was living in my first apartment there was this tree that flowered and then berried. The berries were a dusky, mauvy purple so one day I stuck one in my mouth (I did try to resist for a while, after all, I was living on my own, so that meant that I was officially a "grown up" and "grown ups" do not eat strange, unidentified berries they find lying around) and it was delicious! So I started picking and eating the berries regularly. A few days later my mom came out to visit me and I told her that I had discovered a new berry tree in my parking lot. She looked a little alarmed ( a look like, "Dear Lord, I thought she'd grown out of this by now, where did I go wrong?") and then I pointed out the tree and she sighed. "That's a Mulberry tree, Trista. I agree, Mulberries are sweet and delicious." And I was tickled nearly pink at the thought that I was eating caterpillar food. At the thought that maybe, just maybe if I ate enough of that tree silk would start shooting out of my ass.

But I digress.

This post isn't really about my berry compulsion. That's just to explain the picture that's to come. This post is about my friend, Nicole. Lately I've been listening to Dar William's new CD and the song So Close to My Heart makes me think of Nicole so much.

At one point, though she always (well, not always, we did meet at school and then she mocved away) lived in a separate state than I, everything I did was in relation to her. I wanted her to be my everything. When I visited, I would rub my perfume oil on her heater vents so my fragrance would fill her house when I was gone and she would think of me. Anything she wanted I would turn myself into. But, god, that's a lot of pressure on a person, on both of us, and after a few years it all crumbled. Then there were months when I wouldn't speak to her. I cut her out completely and that was just as hard as enveloping her. At first I ached for her. Then she began fading. Then I let my expectations of/for her go.

I let her back into my life just as I met Kristin; and Nicole's and my relationship was changed. It was healthier. It was balanced. It was distant. And it's gotten more so. I saw her last for about 20 minutes last December as she breezed through town. I can't remember when I last spoke with her. Actually, I can. I think it was this early spring when she called to see if Kristin and I were still willing to host a house concert for her if she came here on tour. I had to decline, even though it had been my idea. We were just too overwhelmed with the pregnancy to pull something like that off. She emailed a congratulation when Julia was born that I was too busy to reply to. I miss her, but it feels hard to keep her as an active friend. She moves so fast and I am so settled, we're doing such opposite things. And yet we have such similar interests. Our brains can leap to the same dazzlingly incongruous conclusions. I have never laughed harder than at some of the things we did together. This picture is one I took when visiting her in Idaho 7 or 8 years ago. We went on a hike and came across this tree with berries on it. And she thought they were this really delicious berry she'd heard about and wanted to pick some to eat. And I saw that they were blue in color, and so was all for sticking some in my mouth. But before we did, since we were in the middle of nowhere, I took a picture of her holding the berry and another of the tree the berries came from, so just in case one taste of them was death, months later when investigators came across what was left of our corpses (mostly chewed, I'm sure, by the local predators and our tiny bones incorporated into various anthills) they would find my camera and develop the film and solve the mystery of our deaths. "Well, well, well. Obviously these girls were unfortunate enough to attempt to eat the notoriously poisonous berries of the Poisonberry Tree. Case Closed." Well, the berries were not edible. We both got nasty cases of cotton mouth from just a tiny taste of the berry flesh. But we didn't die. That's the important part. We lived to tell the tale.

I don't regret the paths our lives have taken us and even the fact that they have taken us so far apart. Sometimes I just regret that we don't communicate more often. And as I write this I know that I share responsibility for that, seeing as how I'm writing this as a blog post and not as an email to her. Of course, I have given her my blog address, so she could be reading this. But I doubt it.

This post doesn't really have any deep thoughts or words from the wise. But I do have to say, I think it has a moral. And the moral is:

Don't eat unidentified white berries. They are not good for you.

Oh yeah, and no matter how much of a Mulberry tree you eat, you will not start shooting silk out of your ass and thus be able to open a silkweaving sweatshop and make your millions.

You've been warned.

Here is Nicole's website. Check her out. Tell her I sent you.

Posted by Trista @ 8:21 AM

Read or Post a Comment

What an achingly beautiful post... thank you for telling a story I have never been brave enough to, made even better because it is yours.

Posted by Blogger Lorem ipsum @ 12:25 PM #

You mean you have a thing for strange berries, too?

No, I know what I think I know what you mean. And that is, I have a tendency to do things that could harm (and often do, a little) me for the sake of fulfilling an outdated and never-really-based-in-reality image of what/who I could be or what more I could do should what I am trying to do succeed. And that oftentimes I find people to support/help/participate in the maintenance of this illusion. And that outside of what we're drawn together to do they are beautiful, beautiful people and among those whom I miss most when they are gone. For go they must, because once the obsession which held us together is gone we both realize there is no practical use for each other in our lives, and things move on their natural way.

But I still love their beauty, and miss the feel of them in my life, and every once in a while think with longing of that moment when all was possibility right before the poison berry crossed my lips...

Posted by Blogger Trista @ 12:46 PM #

freaky....she's playing in MY town tomorrow night. now if only we had a babysitter. sigh....

Posted by Blogger Robyn @ 3:47 PM #

oh duh...after reading her bio...she LIVES here. i'll definately check her out!

Posted by Blogger Robyn @ 3:49 PM #

What an amazingly touching post about friendship, transformation, and the longing that seems to shadow change. All smartly bookmarked by the best berry commentary I've read, maybe ever.

Posted by Blogger breather @ 5:11 PM #

I'm so disappointed for you at the lack of ass-shooting capabilities. You could totally just work for a few months making scarves and shirts and then retire to your cocoon in luxury ;-)

Posted by Blogger mermaidgrrrl @ 11:18 PM #
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