Jul 22, 2005

Wild Blueberry Bushes in the Sun

Wild blueberry bushes in the sun have a certain spicy scent that I love, less cloying than lavender and utterly envigorating. You always know you can reach the mountaintop when you come across that scent. On our Maine vacations, when we weren't hiking we were clambering over the rocks on the beach, for miles. Who needs sand, anyway? We felt like we could go on forever, that we would never tire of the perching, jumping, and climbing up again. And again and again.

And when it rained? The old cabins we rented were full of the owner's discarded treasures and books. The very best was a cylinder Victrola. We listened to songs from the 1930s on it, especially "Catch that Tiger" and a song with the words, "Yabba dabba doo, the monkeys in the zoo." As a child I always read anything I could get my hands on, and the musty books were always entertainment enough for me, whether they were the original Pollyanna books, obsolete Girl Scout handbooks, or P. G. Wodehouse's Bertie Wooster series, all of which I remember reading.

The town of Ellsworth, on Mt. Desert Island, had a blueberry pancake breakfast one Saturday, in which cheerful volunteers scooped cupfuls of batter out of garbage cans to splat on the griddle. Pancakes eaten outside are always delicious, but with Maine blueberries, they are just too good. Look away, vegetarians, but every vacation we had to boil the obligatory lobster. I don't remember the lobster crawling around on the kitchen floor a la Annie Hall, but it was all quite a delightful ordeal of delayed gratification. Crack the various parts. Carefully, tediously, extract the tender flesh. Dip that little piece in butter. Now you can eat it. Do it all over again for the next little piece.

Even the leaky rowboats and bee stings have a gauze of nostalgia over them, I suppose because my mother and my brother David are gone. Did I tell you that we forgot our bickering on these vacations? And that we all helped with the dishes and the sweeping?


jo(e) said...

That settles it. I'm going to Maine.

Your descriptions are so evocative.

mc said...

Ah, but the problem with living here is that you (or, um, I) expect it to be that way every day... and it's not. Though a weekend in Boothbay, at friends' summer cottage, brought it all rushing right back. Sometimes, spending time with people who are on vacation is a vacation in and of itself.

Miriam Peskowitz said...

Hi Lauren,

I came here from Anjali's lifeinthehundredacrewood blog. I love your writing.