Maine infected me at the age of 12, in Brunswick, on a family trip from Minnesota. The bug was more or less dormant until I moved to Boston in the late 70s, spread a little in flirtations with the mountains and lakes of New Hampshire and Vermont, and now, with the bemused tolerance of my wife Cynthia Dockrell, has set in without cure.
Although the hills of mid-coast Maine are being rapidly
developed, some blueberry fields still thrive. My wife and I often drive and
hike in the Camden Hills, an almost perfect geography of forest and mountain
and lake and ocean, and the sight of a blueberry field – stark, open, studded
with granite – is a gorgeous contrast to the prevailing conifers and beeches.
The fields of Beech Hill are particularly striking. Leaving Rockland on Route 17, we see Beech Nut House
at the top of one of the hills in Rockport. Until we knew what it was, part of
Beech Nut Historic District, preserved forever by the Coastal Mountains Land
Trust, we called it the California
house. Beech Nut floats on a bare hill that is sometimes green, sometimes
brown, sometimes red. With its sod roof and stone porch, the house is from
another country, another century. There’s a 360-degree view, the bay in front,
the hills in back, and surrounding the house are organic blueberry fields, an
indescribable pleasure to those of us who walk through them and nibble at their
edges, a way of life and a habit of seeing and experiencing conserved for all