The Death Berries Of Plainfield Avenue
Every year they grow, and every year they take a toll.
The berries that grow along the western edge of the Kent Country Club along Plainfield Avenue are small. They appear to be a form of wild blackberry. They probably are edible for humans, but I'm not going to be the one to test that theory.
How long they've grown there is anyone's guess. One could imagine the berry bushes as pre-dating the golf course, and extending back to the time when that area was just lush forest land, roamed only by wild bears, squirrels and an occasional indigenous family strolling by to pick some of them and take them back to their village.
The berries, however have become dangerous. How? Because I think the local rodents get drunk off of them.
From the moment the berries become ripe in late May until the time they bottom out in early July, the fruit is wreaking havoc on said rodents.
As an urban bicycle commuter I see many different types of animals vying for the berries. In the early morning hours, raccoons, possums, muskrats and even rats love to grab the fruit and eat them before the world comes awake.
Sure, they squabble a bit over the rights to the delicious treats, but for the most part, that's not the problem.
The problem is they get so fired up over eating the berries (and perhaps getting a little high off of the fermentation of the as they lay on the sidewalk) that they soon forget how close they are to one of the busiest roads in Northeast Grand Rapids.
That's why I call them death berries.
In the last month or so this year, over seven rodents have found themselves as road kill in the segment of Plainfield between Ann and Knapp Streets. It has become a death zone, and no one seems to care. Mainly because they aren't as close to the dead bodies as I am on my bike.
So to the little raccoon, the two squirrels, the big muskrat, the two possums, and one other squished thing that I couldn't identify: Godspeed on your journey to your next life. At least they've picked up your bodies this year. Last year, you were obliterated into little furry discs.