I told myself not to be the person who says, “Gee, time is flying by, eh?” BUT HOW CAN YOU NOT? It’s something you want to acknowledge to the point that you embrace every moment and don’t wish days away, but also something you don’t want to speak of so much, that you waste your time in saying so. And, you sound like an old person.
Yet in all these fleeting days of assigning stories, meeting potential writers over coffee, editing, running around, concrete falling on my car, back and forth with insurance companies, ceilings leaking, buying cat food, organizing my closet and changing litter, there has also been time for binging on Sex and the City, blueberry picking and swimming holes, Monday night trivia, catching up with friends, applying for a part-time job, signing up for the new gym, killing my aloe plant and beginning to feel like like I am losing myself in being so busy or, maybe what it is, is not writing. In not writing, I have no organized connection to my thoughts; not sure what my thoughts even are because my mind is so crowded with plans. Plans for content, plans for the weekend, plans for life, plans, plans, plans. I mean, there is so many things I want to do, say, think, see; how do I get it all down and think of it logically. So I decided to try baking. Blueberry crisp.
I’ve never gone blueberry picking before. I have a faded memory of picking wild, I think they were blackberries, in the cul-de-sac on Grant St. before the new development began with my mom; the mist of a sunny Sunday morning, a moment similar to those you read of in Little House on the Prairie; channeling my inner Laura Ingalls Wilder.
But this was much different at Alyson’s Orchard in Walpole. A vast selection of bountiful blueberry bushes dangling with the promise of fat, firm cherubs, some still youthful with a hint a flushed red cheeks, some have met their fate early, bleeding on the ground, stomped below tall yellow grass; rows of blue among raspberry bushes and summer blooming Paula Reds. To get there, a climb in your car up a hilly dirt road looking out at the Vermont landscape, past hundreds of rows of apple trees, a few barns with golden horses filling up on grass before a wedding, baby goats and big red barns, a farm stand of pies, plums and peaches, glistening with sweet sweat, a serene pond topped with a lazy blue canoe.
Aunty Cindy seemed to be in heaven, gawking at every single blueberry she came across. We picked for what seemed like a good hour and 30 minutes, steaming like dumplings in the sun. There are countless opportunities for PYO berries in the Monadnock Region; Monadnock Berries in Troy, Comstock Farm in Alstead, High Hopes Orchard in Westmoreland, Homestead Farms in Walpole, The 1780 Farm in Chesterfield and more.
After we got back, she showed me a methodical way of cleaning my blueberries (I spilled half my bucket in the dirt road), by running cool water over them, and in batches, rolling them over paper towels to dry and letting them freeze like perfect blue marbles. I kept some aside for yogurt and blueberry crisp. I was hesitant at first, but I was craving the sweet bitterness of warm blueberries, sweet, soft oatmeal filling my mouth with comfort, that, even if I have no substantial thoughts, I am filled with comfort food, and maybe that’d spark something. What is more inspiring than comfort food?
I finished it in two days.
And I will leave this post with these ending quotes my mom sent me:
“To honor life, we must be willing to grow through what we don’t know yet, and outgrow what we know no longer fits us. We must be willing to give in to the process, moment by moment, realizing a new plot may be unfolding.”
And this got me thinking.
- 2 cups fresh picked blueberries
- 1 cup oats
- 1/2 cup honey almond granola
- 2 tbsp butter at room temperature
- 3/4 cup flour, divided
- 1⁄2 cup sugar
- 1⁄2 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 375. Add blueberries, half of the sugar and flour in bowl. Toss to coat and pour into buttered baking dish. For the topping: In a separate bowl, mix oats, remaining flour, cinnamon and butter. Spread over fruit.
Bake for about 30 minutes, until blueberries are bubbling and the topping is golden brown.