Isn’t that a beautiful picture? I wish I could take credit for it. I, actually, was going to borrow a stock photo of blueberries but then I saw that picture and knew it was perfect.
I’m not really sure what my topic is today, except to talk about something that happens to all foragers. Two weekends ago, my husband and I went with my mom and her partner into the woods. We came out with about a cup of huckleberries each. We were proud of our berries but what does one do with a cup of berries? We dried them and went on.
This past Saturday, Mom and I went berry picking at a farm. My goal was to walk away with ten pounds of currants and ten pounds of blueberries. We picked currants, in the rain, until we just couldn’t stomach it anymore. We had about a pound and a half, total. Then we went to the blueberries. The sun had come out by this time and we picked for about an hour and a half. The berries were not completely ripe so finding the best berries was slow work. I don’t think we got ten pounds between the both of us.
We were disappointed. We are getting older but I don’t think that was the problem. We might have been able to pick more but the berries just weren’t there nor was our desire to really hunt for them. We picked longer than anyone else at that farm.
The problem stems from want. We wanted more. We wanted that extra padding that would tell us everything would be okay. We would always have. I have blueberries in my freezer from last year. I have canned cherries that are two years old. The reality is, we can’t eat much more.
Living in the north, we have a short growing season. We have just a few months of fresh foods before we are sentenced to a diet of canned, frozen or just awful produce. We feel like somehow we can store up summer in our pantry. Somehow those plump juicy berries are going to give us sunshine and light when it is cold and dark.
The truth is sometimes we forget what makes them special. It’s not that we can store them up but that they come and they go. We can’t can summer. We have to remember that the moments are what is special. I often say that it’s the getting food that’s half the fun. It’s laughing while picking currants in the rain under the most amazing arbor of grape plants. It’s the moose sighting as we picked huckleberries (and, of course, the scare when my husband mistakes it for a bear).
When the winter comes, we’ll open our can of blueberries and remember the sun on our backs, the wet grass and our time together. While we won’t have enough to gorge ourselves on all year long, we will have enough to be happy. Each food adds up. Each jar is like a grain of sand, small and insignificant on its own but with all the others – it fills an entire beach or pantry.
So, I may be feeling a bit blue about my two quarts of canned berries and two pints of jelly, I have an incredibly full pantry. I have an absence of empty jars. I have enough.
But you know I’m going out for more.