Blaeberries in the Silence
By Craig Gilbert
It’s the time for picking fruit and foraging for sustenance in the outdoors. I love this time of year, when berries begin to emerge from hedgerows and bushes, when one can have a sense of freedom in venturing out to taste nature’s abundance.
A nearby walk to Drumdreel wood, just south of Strathmiglo, on the edge of Falkland Estate, shows a sea of blueberry bushes sitting amongst the purples and creams of flowering heathers, with tall trees defying gravity with their ever-increasing size and urge to higher skies.
The art of blueberry picking invokes a sense of stillness, of patient harvesting; many wild bushes have small berries, while lots can’t be seen until you’re close to the bush. This is not a pursuit for speed or thrills – this is a pursuit of calm gentleness, of intention on the task at hand, soothing the mind as well as the senses.
It took me around two hours to collect two tubs of blueberries (and they weren’t large tubs). However, the quantity was irrelevant in a way – having the time to do this, while being out in nature, listening to the birds in the treetops, feeling the sunshine, seeing the rays of light piercing the side of each tall tree as I walked by – that was the real reward.
Other than the odd cyclist going by, I was completely and comfortably alone; although I could consider the birds, the heathers, the bushes, the trees to be my companions. Even the perceived quietness pervaded everywhere, a beautiful balm of non-disturbance.
Taking some time like this to go out in our lovely Fife countryside certainly raises the spirits, in light of the challenging times we’re still enduring. If we come back home with more of a pinkish tinge to our lips and fingers from picking fruit, then we realise we’ve also had some joy thrown into the bargain!