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Berry Picking

By Joyce Maynard, "Berry Picking," July/August 2011

Author Joyce Maynard's essay on picking berries with her daughter.

Then last summer I managed to be in the Granite State in mid-August. For my part, old wounds and battles from decades past seemed insignificant, measured against the backdrop of a whole life. Losses only clarified the preciousness of what endures: The cycle of the seasons. The glory of summer. A firstborn child, the berry-picking companion of my youth.

And so we planned to make a day of it on Pitcher Mountain together.

I was happy to see that for all the changes in our lives and the world around us there was still a hand-painted sign posted in the dirt parking lot, with a box for depositing 25 cents a pound for berries. The honor system.

Thirty years had passed since the first time I climbed that mountain with my little overall-wearing girl. She’s older now than I was the first time we ventured out to pick, though not too old to take my hand as we headed up the path together.

Next: A Reunion on the Mountain »


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