I heard a song on the radio yesterday about blackberry winter. Reminded me I've always meant to look up that phrase.
- Blackberry winter happens in the spring when the weather has been getting warm and you think you're on your way to summer, and then snap! there's a sudden cold spell.
- It's so called because this usually happens around the time when the blackberries are in bloom.
Blackberries in bloom
(Photo by Ken Moore at The Carrboro Citizen)
- It's a phrase that's more common in the southern U.S. than anywhere else.
- I first encountered the phrase when I read the short story called "Blackberry Winter" by Robert Penn Warren. The story is told from the point of view of a boy whose parents are going through hard times when a stranger arrives at their farm looking for work. It's a terrific story with one of the best last lines I've ever read.
This collection of short stories is where I read "Blackberry Winter." There's lots of other great stuff in here too.
There are lots of versions of songs called "Blackberry Winter." Most of them on YouTube are jazz recordings. There's also an oldie sung by the Townsel Sisters. But none of those are right. I heard an acoustic version with one guy singing. If I can find that song again, I'll post it. But for now, it shall remain a mystery because I must go to bed.
You might also be interested in the Daily Apple entry on blackberries.
Wordsmith, A.Word.A.Day, Issue 131, August 14, 2004
Dave's Garden, Definition of blackberry winter