Sunday, July 3, 2016

I’m hiding up here at the cabin . . .

for this Fourth of July weekend.

It’s not that I don’t like food carts, festivals, and fireworks. It’s that I’ve been cursed for the last 10 years with dogs who are terrified of loud noises.

I don’t mean the dogs themselves are a curse. Just that particular behavior. Dogs are a blessing, especially when many of  life’s  other pleasures are curtailed by pain or fatigue. And the dogs give me an excuse to push myself walking the hilly road and traipsing through the woods. I tell myself dogs need to be walked, even though these dogs roam freely in the woods around the cabin, constrained (or so they think, even though they haven’t won the collars for years) by an invisible fence, and they come back when called. I seem to attract pack animals who would rather walk on a leash with me than run loose by themselves.

So, we walk.  This time of year I look for ripe berries, and because of the recent rains, mushrooms. I was away during the torrential rains a week ago,  so missed what must’ve been a brilliant mushroom opportunity. I can see where they were, and where I hope they will be again if the current rain continues.

I hope the rain continues. I am a spoilsport, wishing for rain on the Fourth of July long weekend. But rain without thunderstorms will curtail the fireworks. And no fireworks means no bug eyed, panting, drooling, pacing semi – hysterical dogs.

Also, rain = mushrooms. I can feel them around me. Those heavy rains pushed them near the surface. Some popped already, and I missed them- I can just see their dry weathered remains scattered among last year’s leaves. But that’s ok.  There will be more, though probably not the crazy plentitude of  last year’s bounty.
one crazy day's ruby chanterelle harvest 

I started out hoping this blog would be about berries. Ripe wineberries and tiny wild blueberries and huckleberries. But it looks like I’m  too early (by a week at least)  for the wineberries, and the wild blue and huckleberries are few and far between this year. 
this was titled house mountain fourth of july, proof that last year at this time things were ripe and abundant

Maybe I’m early for them too. I found a bush or two of ripe berries on my hike in between the rains, but most of last year’s bushes appear oddly bare.
today's haul, shown actual size

Back at the house in town the blueberry bushes, (also nowhere near as prolific as last year) are ripening nicely in their bird and squirrel-proof cage.
The gooseberries are nearing the end of their run. A friend is picking what’s left after this last container I’ve taken for myself.
The blueberries I've tried to grow up here, though, yield a pitiful amount.
today's sum total

The cultivated berries in town are doing exactly what they’re supposed to, when they are supposed to do it. It’s only the wild things I can’t seem to control.

I’ve never been able to really control these blog posts either. I start out convinced I’m writing about something definite and somewhere around halfway through, realize I don’t have a point at all. I usually stop there  and go for a walk or do something else,  just let what I think I’m trying to say sit in the back of my brain. Sometimes I’ll come back and sit and stare at the computer screen. Sometimes I’ll sit down and write exactly what I need to say. I never know which one it will be, and I never know what my point really is until I’ve written it down.

So this blog post is about berries, sort of.  Also mushrooms, and rain. It’s about dogs and fireworks and walking through the woods. It’s about me staying open to what’s going on around you, even if it’s not in the same place or at the expected time. Because I can’t control anything, really. 

Except maybe whether or not my dogs will be terrified on the 4th of July.

And sitting here just now, listening to the rain on the tin roof and looking out at the woods which may or may not surprise me with mushrooms tomorrow or the next day, I realize something. 

Once again, through a winding, detour-filled process, I have somehow figured out what enough is.