This afternoon we broke our steady march to water the horses and rest our feet. Dermond led the cart off the path and, after passing through a thick grove of trees, I was pleased to discover he had brought us to the bank of a swiftly coursing brook. While my companions dipped their feet in the cool water, Dermond took a battered clay cup from his saddlebag and walked to some bushes further down the bank. I followed out of curiosity and watched him pick something from the bushes and drop them gently into his cup. Before long he had filled the cup and began to pop them, one after the other, into his mouth. He chewed with evident satisfaction, pausing only to spit something out after each one. He must have read the question on my face for he smiled roughly and offered me the cup.

“Berries,” he said. I popped two in my mouth and was pleased by their tartness, their rich flavor, and the cool juice that trickled down my throat. I spat out their pits as Dermond had done and, surprisingly, he offered me the cup again. I took several more and ate them more slowly. For a moment we stood together sharing our enjoyment of the berries. Dermond told me that as a boy his father had never brought food into the forest when they hunted, preferring instead to make a meal of berries and other things scavenged from the woods. I filled my leather pouch with them, for even a handful felt as filling as a meal. I am learning much from this man.