There's a place a short drive from our cabin that's a bit of a well-kept local secret. It's a few dozen acres of government-owned forest that fell prey to a fire about 30-40 years ago. From a distance, it doesn't even merit a second glance - just large scrubby fields flanked by stately evergreens. But if you get out of your car and bend down, you suddenly realize the whole place is covered with blueberry bushes. Acres and acres and acres of them.
Apparently the fire leveled the larger trees, which gave the blueberries prime sunshine real estate. And all the charred wood (you can see some in the top picture, on the left!) created some sweet organic matter for them to grow in. Nature, man.
I went twice in a month; once with my parents, and once with my parents and Micah. Each time we spent about 2.5 hours there, quietly picking and looking up once in awhile to check for bears, or, you know, murderous hillbillies or whatever. It's a pretty zen experience – all you're really focused on is which clump of berries to pick next, and you can't even really focus on that too much, because there's just so many. Micah said it was his favorite part of Michigan, because he was able to get out of his head for while; which, really, isn't that just the whole point of vacation? True removal? I think so.
Well, that, and gallons upon gallons of wild, organic blueberries. I brought 13 cups back with me (a benefit of being a really light packer!), and every time I look at them I think about how I pay like $5 a pint at Whole Foods for commercially farmed organic blueberries that don't taste half as good. I froze half of them for winter, and have slowly been working my way through the other half, making crumbles, sprinkling them on salads, and just eating them plain by the handful whenever I get a bit nostalgic.