Where have all the blueberries gone?

Rose Woodbury

If anyone knows where the blueberries are, please tell me. Maybe I’m a little late to the game, but I can’t find them anywhere.

Disclaimer: at risk of totally embarrassing myself, I will tell you that a good friend informed me of the very best blueberry-picking spot and told me that this was the very best time to go there.

So here’s what happened: I drove over an hour up Mill Creek Road and onto Forest Service Road #65 with two empty Nancy’s yogurt containers in the backseat. I was hoping, no actually, I expected to return with both containers filled to the brim with juicy berries. I thought these berries would just fall off the bushes into my hands. I thought this was going to be the blueberry promised land. (And I was hoping I could then write to you about where to get free fruit.)

I got out of the car and started climbing about here:


There were plenty of blueberry bushes around, but none with any fruit!

I climbed and hunted for berries, but the more I climbed, the more distracted I became by things like this:


And this:


Until eventually I had almost forgotten about the berries because I was so fixated on how those pretty little wildflowers make it all the way up here. How they seem to know exactly which color combinations will be the most picturesque. Deep purple, yellow, red.

I thought maybe I would make this post into a flower identification lesson. I would collect, research and document. But I never really saw the flowers that way to begin with, and I decided that route wasn’t for me. While my photos represent some sort of collection, I don’t try to pin anything down. I’m not going to force labels on this place that doesn’t seem deserving of segmentation.

Right now I’m reading a wonderful book called “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek” by Annie Dillard. Somehow she manages to perfectly articulate how I was seeing the world up there on the hillside. I would’ve attempted to describe my position in my own words, but I just came across this passage and it’s too accurate not to include:

“I am no scientist. I explore the neighborhood. An infant who has just learned to hold his head up has a frank and forthright way of gazing about him in bewilderment. He hasn’t the faintest clue where he is, and he aims to learn.”


What started out as a failed blueberry-gathering excursion turned into a quieter acceptance of place. I absorbed my surroundings. At some point I stopped judging them. (For a short while, at least.) And while yes, I would still love to fill my yogurt containers with fruit, I’m a little bit grateful for the disappointment.