We went to the in-laws today up on Florida Mountain. For those of you who don’t know of any mountains in Florida, this is Florida MA. I try to help out with mowing when I can, and usually do the runway. It’s a big clearing my father in law made years ago with the intention of taking off and landing ultralight airplanes. The center is covered in grass, but the edges are a mix of moss, pine scrub and wild blueberries with some blackberries mixed in.
Today after dinner, my wife went for a swim and I went to gather some of the wild blueberries. Theres no highbush here. You have to work for these. They are mostly small and at ground level, but the rewards when you pop them into your mouth are well worth working for. Once I got into the swing of it, the bending over continuously was easy. I was even able to mostly ignore the black gnats and concentrate on picking.
As I picked, I thought about all of the machines man has invented to do just about everything, then I thought about how these particular blueberries ended up in my container. Some time in the spring the plants produced flowers. Those flowers needed to be pollinated in order to produce the fruit, and it most likely wasn’t bees from a painted hive of stacked boxes and managed by a beekeeper like myself, that they came. It was most likely native bees like the bumblebees that were now busy on the clover. What a marvelous work of nature. And speaking of marvels, my eyes had to see the blueberries, compare the colors and tell my brain, “that one is ripe” Then my brain had to tell my arm where to place my hand so that my index finger and thumb could gently roll that ripe berry into my open palm. Over the course of an hour and a half or so, this process repeated itself over and over until my container was full. Machines weren’t needed for this undertaking. Mother Nature provided the necessary ingredients. I thanked the earth and I thanked the native bees, for now, I will have blueberries for jam, pancakes, and muffins.