First Frost/ Last Berries

This morning broke clear with blue skies dotted with scattered islands of small clouds. After breakfast the little dog and I head out to the mountains. We rush to the catch of the Mediterranean-like light that will fade as the sun arcs toward noon. The sound of excited children greet us. It seems like every school child in Juneau is berry picking on the mountain meadows. 

            There are many berries and many meadows so we will rarely run into any of the kids. A pleasant surprise did wait for us when we crest a mountain shoulder and drop into a pocket meadow—frost. It is the fragile first mountain frost, soon turned to dew after a few seconds in sun.     

 I find a patch of frosted blueberry plants, none standing more than six inches above the meadow muskeg, each leaf a calico of reds, yellows, and oranges. The sun climbs above a protecting stand of mountain hemlock trees to turn each berry into a Christmas ornament dangling on a party-colored tree. I filled my hand with blues and offer them to Aki. The little poodle mix lifts each into her mouth with her clever tongue.  

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