Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Juniper Berries

Walking again at the pond, I've watched the juniper berries mature and now they hang in blue blankets against the green. It is a startling sight, this contrast of colors, and I can never let the sky-blue berries with their whisper of white dust go. For an instant the sun shone and the cold wind let me alone long enough to take this picture.

These berries are, I am sure you know, the stuff of gin. That seems foreign enough to me - and the bushes do, too - but it is that blushed berry that I cannot pass by. These berries are the foodstuff of winter animals so they are good for more than the looking. I have never tasted a berry but suppose that I should. I might then have a taste of gin tonic, without the gin, without the tonic.

This "Common Juniper" is not all that common around here. I've seen it numerous times at the Germantown MetroPark (not five miles away from our park). And yet it grows around here wild and will become quite tall (25' surely) if left alone enough years. It startles me with it's late season blue-ness, the color of chicory flowers beside the road or the hint of low-bush blueberries, coated with yeast, along the Appalachian Trail. In any case, there is nothing common about this bush at all. What gives us year-round green with such a gorgeous display of fruit so late in the season?