In Their Own World


Aki and I are on a mission. Now that the best sea-level berry patches are past prime, we are in the mountains looking for bushes with ripe, blue fruit. The dog, who has been known to sample blueberries from one of our hands, doesn’t pick her own. She conducts a search, one that only she can understand; only she can evaluate.


My search is also shrouded in secrecy. There are only so many berries on the slopes and we pass whole families of berry pickers heading up the mountain when we descend. I am sworn not to help them.


Some of the berries grow along the shores of tiny lakes that dot the muskeg. Each are full of skating water bugs that seem to levitate on the water’s surface. In their tiny world, they are as impressive as the bubble-feeding whales I watched yesterday in the North Pass.


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