Thursday, July 30, 2009

Picking urban blueberries

I just picked a pint or two of blueberries from my tiny blueberry bush that sits on the square yard or two of land in the front.

Last year the bush took a break--not one berry. This year it's making up for it.

There are a lot of calories in the berries I picked, and they're meant for me (or any other critter that chooses to eat them). I get the sweet sugary deliciousness, the seeds get a free ride, to, well, to a sewage plant, where chlorine will end the spark of life given to me by my bush.

I didn't hold up my end of the bargain, so to speak.

A bear would have had the decency to shit in the woods.

Fruits exist for animals to eat--this is not some Biblical decree or some squirrel-kissing-tree-hugging philosophy. It's an evolutionary strategy. Blueberry bush wraps its seeds in deliciousness, I eat them, then poop them a mile or two away while chasing down a wild boar for dinner (or running away from the same).

The fruit gets mostly digested, the seeds do not, and they get the added benefit of a nest of nitrogen to see them off.

There are books on how to poop in the woods. When you dig your cat-hole, ideally at least a stone's throw from water, do not dig it too deep (it won't decompose) or too shallow (for obvious reasons).

For years one of our department's finest has led children into the woods, 3 days of wilderness camping on the Appalachian Trail, and the poop spade has become legend. While a few students come back a little, well, log-jammed, most learn more about biology than they may have bargained for, and are none the worse for the wear.

I'm not sure my blueberry bush will ever become a parent; with a population of 45,000 folks on about 5 square miles, were talking about 3 or 4 tons of poop per square mile on any given day.

I have no plans to keep my end of the evolutionary bargain, but it does make for an interesting lesson that will never happen.

Still, it seems to me that anyone with a high school diploma should be able to tell you where their last meal came from, and where it ultimately goes.


momomom said...

LOL, I love it ... plus I admit to nocturnal groundhog repellant patrol here abouts.

doyle said...

Dear momomom,

This was one of my favorites, and its lack of comments puzzled me.

I suspect poop is not a big topic of conversation in the 4 and over crowd.