“Don’t miss the forest for the trees” applies to me and my occasional incursions in scenic areas to do landscape photography. While on a commissioned assignment to create some images in Unicoi county, I was picking my way through shrubs and low trees on Horseback Ridge. This rocky outcrop follows a ridgeline for hundreds of yards with many vistas dotting the rugged terrain.

This ridge must take a weathering because most of what grows on it is scrubby and short. So while I waited for the perfect sunset moment, I looked closely at just what those scrubby plants were. Blueberries—the wild food of bears and birds? I looked up and down the ridge and they were everywhere. How unobservant of me! I’ve seen these bushes on my treks for years, and I didn’t realize they were blueberries!

I had to marvel at the plant. Not only were the berries colorful, a kind of purple-blue when ripe, a bold pink when maturing, but the turning leaves had strong red and orange tones. So here I am again, thinking about how beautiful something is that didn’t have to be beautiful at all. If the blueberry bush was mundane, and it bore the same fruit, dull and gray, what difference would it make?

Instead, the blueberry is a gorgeous, wild fruit. Indians used them for medicines, teas, dyes, and, of course, food. More and more we hear today how healthy blueberries are—full of vitamin C, antioxidants, low in fat and a good source of fiber. We’ve been motivated to start our own blueberry mini-farm; it will take a few years to develop, but we look forward to having a healthy fruit growing at our place.

I want to come back to a question, “Why isn’t the blueberry bush mundane?” Why, indeed? I think it says a great deal about God. For that matter, why are little, iridescent tropical fish so richly colored? Why is our natural world so perfectly and intensely hued?  The work of God is definitely not mediocre.

Photo credits

“Wild Blueberries”  (Cover Photo) by Eric Jon Job