Blue Hills and blueberries

September 16, 2010

I did a bit of hiking today in the Blue Hills, and noticed a couple of interesting things: 1. The trail feels a lot different in early fall (and probably summer) from how I remember it in late fall/winter/early spring, when the trees are mostly bare. All those leaves take up space, so the trail gets narrower, and it actually feels a little claustrophobic. I think I like it better when I can see more of the sky. It’s noisier now, too, with lots of little blue-gray birds (nuthatches, I think) and crickets and wind. And I very rarely encounter other people on the skyline trail, but today while I was sitting on a rock on my favorite hill, a guy in an orange shirt and backpack meandered by. He didn’t say anything to me, possibly because I was wearing a green shirt and sitting behind a green bush and not moving, which is good because I was busy having my semiannual existential crisis and wouldn’t have welcomed the interruption.

Speaking of which, if anybody’s reading this who lives in New York or another big city, what do you do when you need to get away from people? Not a specific person, just the species as a whole? Or does that not happen to most people?

2. I never noticed before, but most of the stretch of trail I hiked today is lined on both sides with blueberry bushes. I wouldn’t have been sure that’s what they were, except I looked closely enough to find some berries, overripe or possibly frostbitten, so dark they were almost black. They didn’t look terribly appetizing, but I probably would have tried one anyway, if not for the existence of at least one person who is convinced that any berry outside of a supermarket is probably poisonous, and who, if I were to sicken and die on account of such a berry, would doubtless show up at my funeral just long enough to say “I told you so.” If I’d been here a month ago, though? You’d better believe there would have been a lot of muffins at my house. And some scones and maybe even a pie or two.

I couldn’t be sad about the blueberries for long, because there was already a bag of Wyler’s wild blueberries in my freezer, destined to be made into these muffins.



  1. While backpacking this summer in the UP, parts of the trail were completely lined with blueberry bushes. But *someone* said they didn’t smell like blueberries and convinced me not to eat them. Boo.

  2. Oh, I did eat the ones I found this summer, growing behind the theater. Raspberries and blackberries too. Apparently that’s why we have bears around sometimes, so actually I was protecting the theater from bears by eating them.

    It’s just these particular berries looked a little past their prime.

  3. These berries look perfect in the photo, maybe too perfect. I have never seen blueberries on the bush in September. They peak in July or August, and those which are not harvested by humans are devoured by bears and birds. I am NOT the person who would say “I told you so” at your funeral, but these do not look like blueberry bushes, at least in the photo. Did they look just like the bushes in NH, whose fruit obviously didn’t kill you? I have long suspected there is another plant that produces fruit that looks like wild blueberries, but only almost. I have no idea if they are good/safe, but since no one has made a huge media statement, I suppose they wouldn’t kill you. 😉

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