I’m excited, I’ll admit. Love fruit, and blueberries top my list. We have a local place where we pick organic blueberries and buy them for two dollars a pound.
It’s just outside the town’s southside, a ten minute drive. A hot cuppa coffee in hand, we leave about 6:30, me, my wife, and our neighbor, Barb. Barb and Walt introduced us to this habit about eight years ago, I guess. I have photos of the first year’s harvest. The morning air reminds us we’re in the mountains, and higher mountains are not far, providing nature’s air conditioning.
Arriving at the gate under the sprawling trees at the end of the dirt road by the creek, we wait for the opening at seven. Our car will probably be tenth in line or so, and we’ll sit, sipping coffee and chatting until the gate opens. When it does, the cars will be motioned forward, one by one, and directed to a parking space on the lawn to the right. Collecting our gear, we’ll move toward the next queue by the bridge over the creek.
Our gear is gallon jugs with cutouts in their tops. Besides it, we have buckets. Strapping them to ourselves with rope, belts or bungee cords, we wear the jugs and pick, then return to the buckets and fill them. We’ll do this for one to two hours on Saturday morning, collecting eight to ten pounds of berries. Affected by the weather, especially the moisture and heat factors, predicting the crop and harvests is difficult. You usually don’t know until you get there.
It’s a meditative practice. Out there with caws crowing, jays arguing, and woodpeckers hammering, the air feels scrubbed pollution free. A church-like ambiance shrouds the activities as the sun slips through and over the trees and mountains. Spotting deer strolling by or eating isn’t uncommon.
Then more people arrive. Children arrive. Daylight grows stronger. The air warms. Chattering rises. I eavesdrop on conversations about office politics, vacation plans, family updates, pending weddings, and ‘whatever happened to’ updates. I do a lot of thinking and some writing in my head.
About sixty people will be on the field by the time we leave, with others coming and going. It’s still meditative, reflective, picking berries in a swarm of living, on an early Saturday morning, in the mountains.