Sunday, July 16, 2006


One of my most favorite activities in the summer is to pick blueberries. It puts me in mind of Maine, my all-time favorite place. Of course the blueberry bushes in Maine are a good deal different from the ones in Indiana-- we are talking about high bush (Indiana) versus low-bush (New England). The low bush kind at most reaches only to your hips, and the berries are smaller, but they are more piquant. The high bush kind around here are head height or even a little taller, the berries are about as large as your thumbnail (and can get almost as large as a grape) and more mild.

Ian is in his own apartment and Meg is away in MI with a friend, so Rich and I are "alone" with each other, which is new and rather nice. Yesterday, instead of a run, we got on our bikes in the morning, and went up to a blueberry patch a couple of miles north of here. The sky was perfectly blue and the morning sunshine of that golden Midwest quality that promises a beautiful hot day. The early berries have been out for a couple of weeks and we've had plenty of rain. The Japanese beetles were out in force, clawing their way around the feast.

In Maine, blueberries are always associated for me with the sparkling sea. They grow wild, sprouting wilfully from the rocky soil. Sometimes one can find them interspersed with wild rasberries or strawberries. Blueberries, along with the Virginia Scuppernong grape, and cranberries, are the only fruits that are native to North America and up until their discovery, grew nowhere else in the world. Now they are grown elsewhere, of course. Blueberries are so popular in Eastern Europe that McDonald's sells blueberry juice instead of orange juice!

For some reason, blueberry patches strike me as some of the most peaceful places on earth. Maybe it's the abundance. Maybe it's the contented calm of the pickers, whose heads are filled with pies, muffins and Blueberry Grunt-- for me, it's looking forward to having a freezer full of berries that I can enjoy in January with some hearty stew like New England Boiled Dinner. Blueberries in January in a snowstorm are a piece of Heaven. We picked about five pounds in the quiet, humid air, knowing that the season lasts another five weeks or so...plenty more where these came from. Sheer bliss!

I think blueberries are also some of the most beautiful fruit around, especially the low bush kind of Maine. The whole plant is a visual masterpiece. The twigs are a silvery grey, and the small almond-shaped leaves react to stress by turning a vivid scarlet, sometimes only on the tips of the leaves, which is charming. The berries are whitish green before they are ripe, then they turn a pale cool pink,, then deep crimson, then blue overtakes them, and deepens into a deep navy powdered with a whitish finish. The overall picture hardly leaves any color out at all. Combine this with the smell and sounds of the sea-- the gulls, the gentle surf, the clacking of the pebbles on the beach as the waves jostle them-- well, this is Heaven. (Again, I ask-- how can there be no sea in Heaven!)


Blogger The Clinging Vine said...

I've never seen a blueberry patch. They sound wonderful, though!

Don't know about a sea in Heaven, per se, but I daresay they'll be a feature in the resurrected Earth. ;^)

2:16 PM  
Blogger The BadgerMum said...

Eleanor should play my 20 Questions - I'll bet she'd get it in one.

Interesting thing about "no more sea." Throughout the Scripture the sea is a metaphor for the heathen nations, which is why it's such a big deal that Jesus and his disciples spend so much time out on the sea and eating food that comes from the sea. Aside from a brief mention in the Law defining clean and unclean seafood, there's relatively no mention of the sea - outside of the metaphorical references to the heathen, of course.

And of course, there won't be any heathen nations in Heaven, since they'll all have been converted to Christ.

9:15 AM  
Blogger pentamom said...

Now, "sea," I've heard that interpretation of "no more sea" too, and it might be right.

But what it reminds me of is the way there was a "sea" for washing in the Temple. In the New Heavens and New Earth, there's "no more sea," because there's no further need to be cleansed. I kind of like that interpretation, so unless someone can show me it's wrong (and it may well be off the wall) that's what I'm going to think of.

3:56 PM  
Blogger craigellachie said...

Thanks for those comments, they help. When I'm by the sea in Maine, I find it difficult to imagine anything more lovely, which only reminds me that I don't know much about Heaven!

8:09 AM  

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