Last week in the woods of Idaho, I picked huckleberries. After a tedious, 5-mile, hour-long drive up a bumpy dirt road, friends Kate and Chris, husband Andy, and I arrived at the top of a mountain with empty plastic bags and a taste for huckleberry pie in our mouths and our imaginations. At first it looked like the bears had beaten us to the berries. But after 20 minutes of scrounging we each found bushes laden with dozens of the wild blueberry-like fruit. The picking followed a rhythm–a few in the mouth, a dozen in the plastic bag. I imagined I was in the midst of one of my favorite childhood books, Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey.
We were on vacation without calendars or meetings. On the top of the mountain, there was no opportunity for texting or folding laundry or working. There was only the sunshine, the magnificent view of the glacial lake, the berries, and the spontaneous outbursts of gratitude and praise. I love those serendipitous moments when my body is active and my mind is still, when what happens is a prayer time I could not have planned or arranged.
For two hours of picking time we gathered 8 cups of berries–just enough for two pies. I made the crust, Kate cooked the filling, Andy bought the ice cream, and Chris set the table. With a mountain-top experience and feast at the bottom of the mountain, I could not have asked for a better day. Hallelujah! Thanks be to God.