No light, no berries.
I do not know Brian well, but I have followed the harvest for two years now and I have gotten to see Brian at work, I have talked to him in the fields, and I have accepted his hospitality at the harvest. I have seen him start pumps on tractors, fix berry beaters in the bog, haul sacks off the fields in Pocasset, take umbrage at a worker who took a rest, help DNR inspectors find missing herring, admire berries glowing just under the water, drive his truck a hundred thousand miles in the bogs, lobby for pictures in the magazine, chat with neighbors walking their dogs, and trim saplings blocking the light from the bogs.
Brian always looks the same, is always arriving in his truck, moves with a broken step from some accident, always has at least one of his dogs in the truck with him.
As far as I can see, Brian has one goal in life -- to grow berries. If you work for Brian and you don't pay attention to the berries, you are gone. If you talk to Brian and you distract him from the berries, you are ignored. If you have some other agenda, at harvest time Brian does not know what you are talking about. This relentless single-mindedness can give Brian an abrasive edge or at least its appearance, but I think the world is a better place for this single-mindedness.
As I look at people around me, I wonder how many are as driven to do their work as Brian is to do his. I think we would all benefit from a little more of his relentless purposefulness.
...and from his stewardship of the land.
Berries need light to grow and Brian provides us with plenty of light. Stand out in the middle of the Cataumet bogs, enter free courtesy of Brian, and look up at the sun. Watch the hawks screech overhead, take a deep breath as a flight of geese coasts on their wing from the sky to the water on the flooded bog, and startle a duck or two paddling around the bogs. All of this wide open space with berries growing is under Brian's care. Although there are inevitable conflicts with other users of the land, I am hard pressed to point a single person who is more responsible for providing me with open space and fresh air and blue sky and sun streaming down than Brian.
Brian's grandfather grew berries, Brian's father grew berries, now Brian grows berries - there have been five generations on this land. I wonder who will do this next. Of course it is none of my business, but I wonder about the pattern. Will it break in this generation or will it not? I do not know. But I do know that if there is a next generation, we should hope it will be like Brian.
Brian in the Light