The (good) blues of summer

January 19, 2015

Between the house and the tennis court I have two blueberry domes totally enclosed to keep the possums out and the blueberries safe.


Today, and for the next few weeks, whenever I walk past these domes I will peek through the protective wire netting and check on the progress of their ripening.


These aren’t the same sort of berries I picked as a kid in northern Michigan during those lazy days of late July, early August. Those were huckleberries.

But a berry is a berry. And a handful picked of either berry is a handful of deliciousness none-the-less.


I’m fully aware that these berries are somewhat “tame” berries as they grow in cages; cages that, like any cage, offer protection but nowhere near the “wildness” of berries grown in the wild.


Still….. when I crouch down inside the dome and nibble on a few of the riper ones — even those that have fallen to the ground — I can close my eyes and find myself, once again, in the pine forests, on my knees, putting one huckleberry in the bucket for every three eaten.



I’m living in a warm place now, where
you can purchase fresh blueberries all
year long. Labor free. From various
countries in South America. They’re
as sweet as any, and compared with the
berries I used to pick in the fields
outside Provincetown, they’re
enormous. But berries are berries. They
don’t speak any language I can’t
understand. Neither do I find ticks or
small spiders crawling among them. So,
generally speaking, I’m very satisfied.

There are limits, however. What they
don’t have is the field. The field they
belonged to and through the years I
began to feel I belonged to. Well,
there’s life, and then there’s later.
Maybe it’s myself that I miss. The
field, and the sparrow singing at the
edge of the woods. And the doe that one
morning came upon me unaware, all
tense and gorgeous. She stamped her hoof
as you would to any intruder. Then gave
me a long look, as if to say, Okay, you
stay in your patch, I’ll stay in mine.
Which is what we did. Try packing that
up, South America.

Mary Oliver

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

glenn January 23, 2015 at 1:52 pm

Your four-legged friends must sit in lounge chairs at the edge of your food fortress conjuring up new and exciting strategies of berry extraction. I must admit they do look damn juicy.

Thanks Peter.

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