Tuesday, February 28, 2006

blueberry matters

It is said that blueberries have great health value. I vaguely hear the words “antioxidant” bla bla bla and I imagine I am prolonging my life by ten years by sprinkling them on my granola. There are foods that cause such reactions in me: carrots, grape juice, salmon – I am convinced that if I only remember to ingest some I will have done my duty, thereby keeping screaming ambulances away for a few more years, lessening the anxiety of family members and loved ones.

Of course, the few times I have ridden an ambulance, food could not have stopped the episode leading to it, even had I devoured that day a pound of salmon liberally covered with shaved carrots and dried blueberries. Still, one likes to pretend.

About ten years ago, I had recovered from whatever emergency lead to the ambulance run and I packed up my family and left for a week on Martha’s Vineyard. We stayed at the Inn at Blueberry Hill. We dished out more money per night for two rooms than I ever remember dishing out before or after. It was not a complicated or posh place, but it was Martha’s Vineyard and Martha has got herself one pricey Vineyard.

Still, one evening, before dinner, I poured an aperitif for the adults among us – Dubonnet on the rocks, with a twist – and all four of us sat out on the deck adjacent to one of the rooms and we watched the sun sink lower and lower, until it gave that golden glow to everything and everyone.

The women among us painted toe nails and we all watched bunnies scamper in the way that bunnies scamper.

I thought then that it was a perfect moment: not even the day my high school boyfriend in Poland first put his arm around me felt as perfect.

A less perfect but significant moment was some 40 years ago, when I sat with my grandmother on a bench in front of her house, deep in the village environment of rural Poland and we picked through a bucket of blueberries together. I wonder if she would have answered questions had I asked them. She was not a big talker. A doer who loved through her hands.

In a few days family members are descending on the loft (spring break for them) and the blueberries will multiply. It’s not the season here, but it is in Chile and I always thought that airplanes are meant to transport food as well as people and the whole concept of eating “regional seasonal” foods was obviously invented by Californians.

Madison Feb 06 145