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The mosquitoes would get us anyway.
Northern Wisconsin mosquitoes are huge, more like vultures, and they leave enormous welts that make you scratch until you bleed. And wild blueberries are tiny—little indigo beads that have to be separated from their immature green stem-mates. It takes a lifetime or two to fill even a small basket.
It was torture. I waited in vain for someone, say the North Woods equivalent of DCFS, to rescue me. Surely some child labor law was being violated. And what for? Homemade wild blueberry jam, which never tasted any better to me than the stuff you could snag for a couple bucks from the shelf of any grocery store.hunting and gathering, with the hunters—weren't they usually the men?—getting the best of the deal. Gathering has mostly been replaced by agriculture, which is fine with me: if I never meet a wild blueberry bush again, it'll be too soon. Hunting, on the other hand, is strategic, dynamic, dramatic, and cathartic, and — although it's also obsolete — the impulse to do it still courses powerfully through our urban veins, seeking an outlet. It's what drives us to the mall, or the flea market, or eBay, to stalk what we don't need.
Or to Expo Chicago, which opens next Thursday (September 20) on Navy Pier, with more than 100 art dealers from all over the world hoping to attract big game hunters on the prowl for trophies like this piece by New York artist Tamar Halpern (at D'Amelio Gallery's booth), which reminds me of mosquitoes and bloody arms. Halpern's prices start at ten grand, but you don't have to pull the trigger to enjoy the hunt.
"Mix of the day: Jon Brooks's Summer Triangles," by Tal Rosenberg
"Dumpster diving," by Julia Thiel
"Ask a librarian, and then listen," by J.R. Jones
"Mushroom hunting with Iliana Regan," by Julia Thiel
"Forage every stream," by Michael Miner