It is high summer here in the Montana mountains and with summer comes a plethora of beauty. So much beauty, often, I find it overwhelming my senses to the point that I cannot blog, write, photograph it...the creation is unable to be documented with sufficient human acts to do it justice..so I do not; I just look and remember. But on this particular day, I found that beauty had turned to bounty. Lining the trail was the beginning of the summer abundance...you got it....berries!!!
If you have never tasted an alpine strawberry, well then you have never tasted a real strawberry. They are tiny about the size of the end of my little finger. They are hard to find, about 1 in every 5 plants has this tiny treat hanging under its leaves. However, it is packed with the flavor of 10 of those strawberry taffy bars, only better! Hungrily, I ravaged the tiny plants up the 1.25 mile trail. The rewards were few but each time I found one I wanted to cry, "Eureka" for the discover meant just the briefest of moments of exquisite flavor.
Oh, I guess I also forgot to mention that the first of the Huckleberries were also ripening. Small, blueberry like berries but different, they tasted more like a blueberry with a pinch of sourness which blended in my mouth to create a need for more. So, as my hiking partner and I edged our way up the mountain we feasted upon nature's bounty and I tried to remember that the animals who we share this beautiful mountain with also needed this bounty for their survival.
And there is the rub for me, trying to remember that it is NOT all abut Moi. In fact, in this place, it most definitely is very little about me. This is not my home, although it is. The food that grows in great abundance here is balanced each year so that the true residents of this mountainside can survive. If I decide that alllll this is really mine and I can take it all, who actually loses? Not me, for I can go to the grocery and buy really all I will ever need ten times over, only thing I'll lose is the fleeting sensation of pleasure I receive from tasting the berries of the mountains. This taste reminds me that at some point in time "I" knew about how to take care of myself in the wilderness. Somewhere back in time, in my wild brain, I knew that this abundance helped "me" through the winter too and I vied with the wildlife for it. But now, I don't need it so what is my right to it?