Thomas Doty – Storyteller

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Huckleberries

In September, when the foothills are wrinkled brown with the drought of summer, I hike along the waterfalls and pools of a Siskiyou Mountain creek, to my favorite huckleberry patch. Here the berries have moisture and afternoon sun, and they grow plump and purple and beautifully ripe.

When people pick huckleberries they act like bears. They grunt their satisfaction. Foraging through the thick tangle of bushes, they growl when somebody else gets the sought-after, perfectly-ripe berry. Here it's easy to see why the Takelma Indians call bears our closest relations.

At the end of a hot summer I eat huckleberries, a bit of high Siskiyou feasting, for people and bears alike.