Arts

The Food Chief Calls

The first glimpse of summer’s berries is here.

Siyaʔ, the Food Chief, is awake. She yawned a bit four days ago.

Right here:

Do you see that white tip? That’s the first sign.

And now, she’s stretching out into the sun.

So plump!

This is not out of season. This is the moon she wakes to every year. What follows now, determines the crop in the months to come: when she flowers, when the fruit comes, and how much of it there will be.

It all depends on how cold it gets in February, how cool it stays in March, and how warm the nights are in April, but it starts right now, as the sun opens her shell, she sends some sugar to her roots, and slowly they start feeding and building up a community of microbes to feed her when time comes for the big push. All that can be read by the condition of her buds on any day.

She is so sensitive, that this opening will continue for many weeks, both vertically on slopes and on a northern trajectory. We can read the condition and blooming dates of other berries and fruits, even at a great distance, from her. We can even foretell the price of peaches in August — not yet, but as the next few weeks unfold and we watch her daily. We can make plans for how we prune the trees. No weather service needed. The year has begun.

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