According to the calendar, we only have a couple more days here in Gillams. Late to arrive and early to leave this year - a situation that can only be explained by saying that my life is an embarrassment of riches at the moment...as the above picture illustrates. Blueberries? I got 'em!
This year has been a very good year for berries - less good for cherries and apples. Our trees are barren of fruit, which I have been told is because the coordination of flowers and bees and weather was off. Last year was rich in fruit and hardly a berry to be seen. It goes like that.
On Friday, I went with a friend to Harry's Harbour on Green Bay. It's a beautiful place with some excellent hiking trails and you are almost guaranteed to see whales in the bay. We didn't this time, so that's why I say "almost". One thing we did see were lots of blueberries and we made a plan to go picking the next day. My friend knows the best spots deep in the woods, although how she can see that we need to stop here and not there in a landscape that all looks the same is beyond me. I'll chalk it up to the fact that she has been picking berries in these woods since she was a child. Whatever the reason, we drove deep, deep back and stopped at the mysterious place and, lo, there were blueberries. Lots of them. There also were lots of raspberries, although they were coming to an end, and squashberries. It was berry heaven.
Picking can be loud and social or it can be quiet and solitary. I was happy that my friend chooses the quiet and solitary method. We both went our separate ways and picked in silence, alone with our thoughts and surrounded by abundance. It never ceases to amaze me, this abundance. I marvel at how the land offers up so much in such a short period of time after such a long, harsh winter. The land, the plants, the trees - they are almost vibrating with life.
It was warm in the sun but there was a cool breeze to temper the heat. The air moved and the land spoke, Here! You can have this! As my bucket began to fill, I thought about what would happen if we hadn't come today and picked these particular berries. Would a moose or a bear or a bird have eaten them? Would they have ripened and fallen to the ground, undisturbed by any hand or paw or beak? All over the island, at that exact moment, all of it was happening: berries were being picked and not picked. We were picking and snacking and would go home and make our jelly and do what it is that we do with blueberries. Bears were munching and filling their stomachs and adding layers of fat before going home to do what bears always do before winter. And the berries themselves were ripening in a particular order, the older ones dropping to the ground to make room for the next ones to get plump and blue. The energy of it - the aliveness of it. I could feel it. And the thing is - it's always like this. It's always right here.