August is huckleberry season in the Pacific Northwest, so yesterday I made my annual trip to gather berries. A few dozen miles past the grass dried to a copper color beside the highway, a dozen more down bumpy forest service roads, and I stop near the foot of Mount Adams. This is my favorite spot to find them.
I spent the day bent over bush after bush, briefly interrupted by two friendly indian dogs, who roamed about while their family picked on the opposite side of this slope. Stopping only once I ran out of water, I returned dusty, with ruby-stained hands, following the silhouette of a western raven ink-black against a cloudless sky.
The rain will come soon, blanketing these woods in grey. And as I slosh through the puddles to and from repetitive daily obligations, I will remember the warmth of the afternoon sun on my shoulders as I plucked berries, one by one, from the undersides of gradually reddening leaves.