(First of all, I'd like to pat myself on the back for FINALLY putting a picture up with a blog post! It wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it would be.)
Once ever few years where I live, if the weather conditions are PERFECT, we have a banner huckleberry year. For those of you who think this is a made up fruit--it isn't. The huckleberry is smaller than a blueberry and has a sweet-tart flavor. It is also worth its weight in gold.
If you're lucky enough to live in an area where huckleberries grow wild, you'll know what I mean. Locals covet their secret picking spots and wouldn't dare reveal their locations come threat of torture or death! Pickers go out in a frenzy, picking their little hearts out until their knees creak, backs ache, and fingers are dyed purple. Then comes the mad dash to clean and freeze said berries because.... well, because you never know when they're going to come back.
I am very, very fortunate in that I don't have to travel far to find a good picking spot. Huckleberry bushes (or brush) grows wild on my family's property and a quick jaunt on the four-wheeler delivers us to opitmum picking locations. I know, I should hike it all, but it's a twelve minute ride, so if I dragged my 35-year-old butt along those trails, I might not ever get there.
The ride is nice and as I look around I am so thankful for the beautiful land that is my legacy. The scenery is idylic and as close to perfect as you can get. Aspens and all variety of pines grow in thick clusters and ring meadows. Tall grass sits alongside pink, purple and red wildflowers. Birds sing, squirells chatter and the wind rushes through the branches that toss shadows on the grass below where the sunlight filters through. I can't tell you how standing out in that forest makes me feel.
When I was a kid, my Aunt Nancy used to take me, my sister and my cousins out on forest excursions. We would pack a lunch and set out, plowing through the tall grass, building forts alongside enormous boulders with fallen trees and branches. We played so many fantastic games. We were fairies, forest animals, orphans on the run. We ran, walked, skipped and sat. We breathed in the clean air and played in the streams. It is the foundation for all of my writing.
My husband can pick twice as many berries as I can. But the number of berries in my bucket is pale in comparison to the beauty all around me. I haven't written, edited, cleaned my house or done a stitch of laundry in three days. But I have been inspired by the scent of water, pine sap, wilting clover and--oh yeah, huckleberries.