Sunday, August 14, 2005

Huckleberries on Monumental Mountain

I traveled to Monumental Mountain with my friend Edward to gather huckleberries. We met at his home, then drove together through Valley, Chewelah, Usk, and finally up to the mountain.

Along the way, we stopped at my grandfather's grave on the Kalispel Indian Reservation, and at Manressa Grotto.

Before we reached my family's traditional campsite on Monumental Mountain, we encountered road construction and had to stop. The road was completely torn up where they were building a new culvert. The stream was diverted from its path. We hiked around the barrier and another two miles in order to reach the berries.

I suppose the blockade prevented great numbers of people from reaching the berries, for we found them in great abundance, perfectly wonderful and ripe. We conversed for a while as we picked, then sang, but finally we worked in silence, with only the sound of the passing wind to occupy our attention. Everything about that moment seemed perfect, the berries, the wind, the was what Eckhart Tolle calls the "Eternal Now." I felt blessed beyond all measure.

As I picked, I reflected on the spiritual nature of the work I do. These berries are like a sacrament to remind me of everything holy and good. They keep me connected to the earth and the spirit of life.

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