Zen and the Art of Berry Picking

Battle stains.

Berry picking is hard work, but the payoff is worth it.  On berry picking days I head out, pack loaded with containers, bug spray, water, cameras…  It’s hot but you have to wear long gear, otherwise the thicket of thorns will tear you up.  My hands are berry stained and feel like sandpaper from being snagged so many times.  I wear a jacket with a hood to keep the bugs out of my ears, but they still go for my eyes.  And now, after my mom got poison oak last weekend picking berries with me, I also wear my tall rubber muck boots.  You can feel the sweat dripping under the extra layers.

I will mention again that the berries are so abundant because the woods were logged a few years ago, and so the canopy opened up, allowing for undergrowth. 

The slope is steep and you have to navigate around all these downed and dead trees, because that is where the berries grow.  My picking method is like Tai Chi – it’s a whole balance and flow thing.  Squat, look left, look right, stand, lean, balance on one leg and hiking poles, stretch to reeeeach all those perfect berries… “got ’em!!”… back up, careful not to trip over the dogs because guaranteed, they are right there (repeat).

The dogs only want to eat the berries that I am picking, and at one point this morning, I looked down and there was Acadia between my legs, eating berries.  Of course I snapped a pic.

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