I won’t lie. Aki and I are on a mission. I’ve brought her to this mountain meadow to search for berries. We are too early for picking so this might just be a reconnaissance run. In case it is not, I’m carrying the repurposed soy sauce jug that I use as a berry bucket.
The rain that soaked the muskeg last night has stop but cloud remnants still cling to mountainside sprue trees. Water drops grip the petals of bog cranberry and blueberry flowers. There’s promise of a harvest there, but it is more than a month off. In a tree above one of the berry patches, a Steller’s jay scolds the little dog and I, as if warning us off it’s berry bushes.
I had hoped to harvest cloud berries for pouring over morning oatmeal. But the few I find are still as hard as marbles. Too bad. Their smell and apple-pie taste remind me of visits to Sweden, were they are called hjortron, and the tundra near the town in Western Alaskan where I lived for ten years.