I got to go to Denali National Park for a few days last week. My husband had business up there and I tagged along–any excuse is enough to go see that country again. We lucked out; the hot dry weather has made the blueberries ripen early this year. So of course we had to go berry picking.
I love berry picking. Of course the berries are great in themselves–I love to eat them and cook them. It’s a good feeling to provide for my family and see my husband’s face when he bites into a good piece of pie. But I love the experience of picking the berries just as much.
When I first step into a berry patch, I have to focus to find the berries. But once I’ve been there a little while, my eyes adjust and they seem to be all around me. My mind flows from the usual mundane topics to deciding what I want to cook with the berries to just being in the moment. I immerse myself in the feel of the berries on my fingers, see the shapes and colors of the berries and leaves, enjoy the breeze. Berry picking is as close as I get to a Zen state of mind.
Hours passed by as my husband and I picked blueberries in Denali Park. We rarely spoke, just kept track of each other to make sure no one got lost or attacked by a bear. We finally quit when we ran out of room in our baggies. And at the end we had about 6 cups of berries. I made blueberry buckle, pie, and muffins. Our tummies are happy. My mind is at peace. Life is good.