A Crop Unpicked, A Chance Missed, An Opportunity Awaiting

At first, at Antlers’ Beach this afternoon, that old salmon, deer and berry camp midway up the western shore of Okanagan Lake, I thought, where are the birds? The birds that could have eaten these wild cherries? Where are they?

And these choke cherries, too. No birds!

Well, that’s what I thought, then I realized that what is missing is humans, also a natural forager, now more often sighted in grocery stores, and if they’re on the lake, it is to catch some sun. Now, not much sun. And yet the waves still come in…

And the plants, seeded here many generations ago, still wait.

Here, where the spirit of the lake, N’ha-a-itk, lives.

And neither people nor birds. Not yet.

2 replies »

  1. I mean we ate as many as we could but we can only eat so many! 🙂

    I asked someone picking them one day (knowing full well the answer) if they found different trees tasted different, just to make conversation. They scoffed at me and said ‘No, they all taste the same’. Really? I can’t believe that people who are actually out there foraging are still not seeing (or tasting!) the things around them. We go out every season to try and find the best tasting individual trees, bushes, etc. I found a lady picking saskatoons one day while standing in a field of poison ivy. I tried to tell her as politely as I could about it so she’d recognize it next time — but it’s really strange to see how disconnected people are from the land, even WHEN they’re trying to eat wild foods. I hardly know much at all myself and have a lot to learn.


    • Thanks for trying! I think it’s time to turn Antlers Beach into a village again. Maybe that will do it. There are at least 5 choke cherries, and at least 18 general types of saskatoons. The ones in the Similkameen have far more almond notes than the ones here in Vernon, and the ones in the Cariboo make really fine wine, while the ones here, not so much.


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