Filling the basket required a consciousness most neglected in Bird’s opinion. Inattention spoiled the berries by degrees, tainted their potency. Plinth berries spoke ,to those who listened, but young ones now skimmed surfaces and denied whispering existence. Bird knew sentience flooded the world with a rumbling force that rivaled the periodic tipping and tossing of the foothills her flock called home. She sighed. Caught in a world of rock and scrub, the Pilnth stood out and Bird, who stood out too, appreciated the companionship.
Counting mattered too. Baskets filled differently each time. Bushels changed with seasons. Light and water altered the berries heft, texture and hue. Dark winter rubies became airy rosettes with the first solstice before summer warmed and deepened them for the early autumn harvest.
Squatting in the traditional pose, Bird hummed a counterpoint to her companion’s joyous warbles. Tense when she began, the melody melted her, seeping down to her marrow like the poultice she’s prepared and administered to the trees root system. She rocked on her heel in time with the swaying branches.
Few Plinth’s spotted the mountainside. Traditionally seedlings harvested in late spring were replanted for daughters hatched the previous year. Out of favor for many season’s, Bird’s was among a handful left, and aside from Letty’s, Bird tended them all, but hers was the only one that sang. The others silenced by disinterest, disbelief or death. To Bird, it was all the same.