Part 1 – An Introduction to Berries
The wilderness can seem a daunting place, for it is in the wilderness that man pits his mettle against the combined mettles of nature and all its minions, and it is possible to be outwitted by some of the more cunning beasts1. But despair not! If one ever need find evidence of his superiority over at least some of the living creatures in his surroundings, then one need look no further than the berry.
The berry is the ultimate evidence of the stupidity of plants. While animals have evolved camouflage as a means of hiding from unwanted attention, berries have moronically evolved in the opposite direction. Berries stand out in bright contrast to the greens and browns of the forest as if they were inviting others to come and eat them. And, indeed, many answer the call. It is likely that in the course of your life, you have eaten a berry or two yourself – each bite a victory.
Berries can provide an important source of nutrition for the outdoorsineer who has failed to hunt an animal and who does not have an adequate supply of trail mix, lovely trail mix, in his backpack2. While eating berries all day is certainly not the most ideal way to pass the time in the outdoors, most would agree that it is preferable to a long, slow death by starvation. There is even some joy to be found in the consumption of berries, as their flavors run the gamut from “sweet” to “sour” to “berry-licious”, and they are a key ingredient in many island-themed cocktails.
SELF TEST 9
So let us talk about gathering berries, shall we? Yes, we shall.
If you are going to gather berries, you will want to have some sort of basket or holding pan to contain all the berries that you find3. Move from bush to bush, removing the berries and placing them into your holding device. It does not matter if you start from the bottom of the bush or from the top, but you may wish to entertain yourself by only allowing yourself to pick berries from the far side of the bush, or perhaps to try to pick berries in order from smallest to largest. Such are the innovative amusements of the restless outdoorsineer.
Tomorrow we shall discuss some of the challenges of picking berries (click here).
- Wildebeasts, jackelopes, eagles. [↩]
- That is, a terrible outdoorsineer. [↩]
- You will likely not want to just use your hands, even though at first this will seem like a fine way to carry all your berries. As your cache of berries grows in size, your hands will be unable to contain everything that you have picked, and you will likely drop a berry on the ground if you stoop to pick a new berry. This can continue to the point where you are losing a berry for every berry that you discover. And in fact it can continue even beyond that point so that you are losing multiple berries for every berry that you take. And, in an even more interesting turn, this process can continue until you are losing so many berries that the number of berries in your hand becomes a negative number that decreases with every berry that you pick. This negative number of berries is a physical impossibility so it will cause a paradox, preventing you from ever having picked a berry to begin with. While this may seem strange and outside the laws of day-to-day experience, the math proves that it is in fact inevitable and is a relatively common occurrence. Think of all the times that you have not picked berries. [↩]