By Carrie Lynn Hawthorne
Redwood trees surround the three-acre lot on all sides. Sun streams through the leaves, beams of light in the fog. In the orchard, branches hang heavy with plums, pears, crabapples. Locusts buzz, doves coo, and birds of prey flap their heavy wings. The oppressive humidity fills my sinuses, giving me the sensation that I’m underwater.
I help Aidan, age eight, pick blueberries. The bushes grow in a neat row in the back forty, the meadow beyond my in-laws’ home. We step inside the small plastic mesh enclosure meant to keep out the deer, careful not to crush the plants underfoot.
“I’ll get the high ones,” I tell Aidan. “You get the low ones.”
“Can we have a race, Mom?” he asks. “If I get the most, you give me ten bucks.”
“I suppose,” I say, as I survey the bushels of indigo fruit.
I pluck a plump blueberry and pop it into my mouth. It tastes like pure sunshine.
When we have filled our buckets, mine overflows, so I pour some into Aidan’s. “Look, you won. Now let’s go make some cobbler.”
We set the buckets into the red wagon and Aidan pulls it along, careful not to spill them on the grass.
“Want to take a walk, Mom?”
“Sure, let’s walk out to the road,” I say, leading him down the long driveway, canopied by what looks like a lush jungle. Layers of foliage dance in the spots of sun that peek through. A garter snake slithers lightning-fast across the path. I hold Aidan back for a moment, knowing he will chase it if he gets the chance.
We walk down Dewey Lane, named for the family. The Deweys are tall and strong, the type of people who don’t notice the cold. They have worked days in these trees with chainsaws, trimming back the brush, making room. They’ve spent decades tilling the land until it was fertile enough to feed them. Dewey Lane is the kind of gravel road you see on a postcard of the Coastal Redwoods, a picturesque piece of the great Northwest.
The mailbox sits at the intersection of Dewey Lane and Highway 101. Aidan and I stop and watch the cars go by. Big truck hauling trees down the coast. Motorhome with a bike rack, towing a boat. SUV full of kids watching TV on the backs of the seats. Some go south toward California commerce, others north toward Oregon’s green grasses.
Aidan and I stand at the corner. The morning sun kisses our name.
Copyright Hawthorne 2023