Reaching for the Sunshine

My life in appalachia reaching for the light

The other evening I was walking up the hill from Granny and Pap’s when I noticed a Blackberry briar growing in an unlikely place. I probably would have never noticed it except the white blooms seemed to shine in the shady edge of the woods.

The roots of the blackberry lay well within the woods. The briar was long and lanky with not many leaves nor blooms except for the portion that had found its way out into the sunlight.

I stood there looking at the blackberry briar thinking it was truly profound. Even though it was rooted in the damp dark woods beyond the ditch, it fought its way through the trees and laurels into the sunshine where it bloomed in fragrant beauty in the hope that it would produce berries—its life’s calling.

I walked home, got my camera, and went back down the hill to take a photo. I thought “Maybe if I take a photo and write about the lone blackberry briar on the Blind Pig it will remind me to reach for the sunshine too.”


This post was originally published here on the Blind Pig in 2013.


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  • Reply
    Rev. Rose Marie "RB" Redmond
    May 20, 2016 at 7:09 pm

    God bless.

  • Reply
    May 20, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    Wonderful post!

  • Reply
    May 20, 2016 at 6:56 am

    I missed this day, Tipper. The post was so thought provoking I just had to post a day later anyway. Sometimes like a blackberry we can have the sunshine right there to grow and thrive. But, other times when the clouds seem extra heavy we, much like the blackberry, will reach until we feel the warm sunshine on our face. Nature has a way of prodding us to enjoy life no matter what our circumstance.
    I will never forget one of the darkest days of my life, I was driving out in the field at work seeing patients. I’m amazed now that I could even keep my mind on driving. On a country road somewhere in Monroe County five deer walked leisurely across the road in front of my SUV. I sat there and waited for them to cross and whispered, “thank you God.” It could have been a tragedy, but to me it seemed to be exactly what I needed for a reminder that there is still beauty and joy in the world. You are very gifted to see such beauty and hope in the small things.

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    May 19, 2016 at 9:19 pm

    What a “knee jerk” for me. I just read this after giving a stranger “what for” for crossing our “no trespassing gate” (posted twice) and coming right on up our driveway. He was just sitting in the roadway. He said he was looking for a particular house number and person but our number was on the mail box! Duhhhh! Our road or number didn’t match the one he said he was looking for!
    Kind ‘a scared me, but I could have been nicer…maybe… there is just so much weird stuff like this you hear about. Yes, I’m making excuses for my rudeness and l hope it was a legitimate answer on his part. He had his phone in his hand…I suggested he call for directions to the place he was looking for, but he said he was having trouble getting cell service. We sit a half mile from the tower, never had cell problems here at all!
    In my defense, I was by myself, the dogs were already up for the night and the sun had gone down!
    If he comes back…I will try to look for the sunny side… with caution however!
    Thanks Tipper,
    Good lesson!

  • Reply
    May 19, 2016 at 5:28 pm

    What a beautiful thought! I’m saving that one for days that I’m feeling down.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    May 19, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    I called Donna Lynn to request “New Birth” (the Instrumental) and
    she threw another one in before that. Pap and his brother, Ray sung a beautiful song. Chitter and Chatter gets played alot too.
    (they’re my favorite!) …Ken

  • Reply
    Bob Aufdemberge
    May 19, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    Blackberries can bear pretty well if forced to remain in the shade too, which should remind us to do our best even if we’re forced to labor under less than ideal circumstances.

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    May 19, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    You have a way of making the smallest things sound important, maybe that’s why everyone enjoys what you have to say. All the little things in life become large as you get older, I know…Ken

  • Reply
    May 19, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    Thanks Tipper I needed this. I’ve had a long hard week physically, mentally, and emotionally, so today I was just going to stay in and sit. But now I think I will get out into the garden and count my blessings. The Lord sure sends us messages in the smallest of things if we will just look.This was a Blessing.
    May the sunshine always shine on you,

  • Reply
    eva nell mull wike, PhD
    May 19, 2016 at 10:30 am

    What a beautiful analysis toward the invasion of uninvited plants. Picking blackberries was one of my favorite activities in the summer time in the Matheson Cove – especially when Daddy would go with us and show us where the ‘safe’ places (NO SNAKES!) were to gather the blackberries. We were sure to get a fancy desert at supper time!
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    Lisa Snuggs
    May 19, 2016 at 10:09 am

    Good advice on a rainy day!

  • Reply
    Eleanor Loos
    May 19, 2016 at 7:51 am

    Oh Tipper! What a nice analogy ….. I wouldn’t mind being a blackberry briar in my mind’s eye if I were to constantly strive for the sunshine and achieve that fragrant beauty. Yep, we need that on a daily basis. Of course, our Lord gives us that opportunity, too, as we reach for Him on a daily basis!
    Eleanor Loos, Columbia Station OH

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    May 19, 2016 at 7:40 am

    What a lesson in the blackberry briar, its brilliant blossoms, and its “reaching for the sunshine.” Sometimes we ourselves have to reach through multiple layers of darkness before we get to the light! You’ve waxed both philosophical and poetic in this analogy, Tipper! Dark clouds hover this morning here, but behind them the sun still shines. Within time, clouds shift and the sun pours forth. And likewise, behind every cloud is a silver lining–in life, in weather, and in growing things that reach for the sun.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    May 19, 2016 at 7:13 am

    We do have choices in life Tip, we can sit in our fanny in the dark or we can get up and head for the sunshine where we can thrive. I am so pleased that you are a sunshine kind of girl! Sometimes it takes a little thought and effort but there is sunshine…somewhere near. I’ll meet you there.

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