It was hard to restrain myself. I have previously bashed through the brambly, prickly tangle of shrubs without regard for my unprotected arms and legs. But now, as I age, my skin gets scratched more easily, and bleeds more readily, so I chose to only pick fruit at the outer edges of the thicket. And in days gone by, when I was young and seemingly invincible, I would certainly have tested the limits of the gravelly slope that dropped down into a stream below the culvert. Not today. I found it hard to turn and walk away from the tempting red fruits hanging voluptuously on the tips of the branches beyond my reach. But I managed to be sensible. "A man is getting old when he walks around a puddle instead of through it" (R.C. Ferguson) - came to mind. I'm not sure I like that sensibility!
I then turned my attention to the lowbush blueberries at the road edges. Their dusky, purple-blue rotundity contrasted with the sharp, green angularity of the leaves - they were easy to find. I was determined to pick enough to make a batch of pancakes spiked with fresh, wild, Maine blueberries, reminiscent of the treat we always associated with our family tent-camping trips of old.
I dripped so much sweat onto the bushes and ground that I felt I was contributing enough moisture to ensure next years' harvest! Each time, after thinking I'd exhausted the spoils of the bushes around me, I'd see the lure of yet another dusky blue fruit, deeper into the dark woods. Without a thought for ticks, I found myself wandering deeper and deeper through the undergrowth, further from the road, Red Riding Hood style! I didn't get lost though, and there was no wolf (or coyote, or bobcat) to accost me, so I was able to return home safely, to refrigerate my bounty. The lake has never been more welcome or refreshing!