Once I was in the bog I tiptoed about in my rubber boots, a curious giantess, and bent down and squatted so I could peer closely at this world. Everywhere I looked I saw the basal leaves of the pitcher plant, plump veined red teacups. Each one now held a thimble-full of some dark shining brew. The pitcher plant seems to have had a very good year in this bog. I might have come upon the last touches for an end-of-season tea-party about to be tossed by the local fairies for a few invited flies. While I admired the cunning place-settings, the guests, abuzz, were at home donning their iridescent wings and polishing their heads.
Even though it is a small enough place -- maybe four or five acres altogether -- and even though you can see all the way across it no matter where you are standing, still, it's easy to lose your way in the bog. Somehow you are never quite where you had thought you were. You look up from peering into its watery pathways and glinty pools and rumpled velvet moss to find yourself somewhere else entirely. How did I get over here when I was just over there, you wonder. I think there may be some shape-shifting that befalls the bog visitor, which can be disconcerting unless you begin to go with it.
It is easy to forget that, like a reasonable person, I have come here for a reason. I remember from last year's search that to see these cranberries I will need to adjust my expectations. I won't be looking for the colour we call cranberry. Instead, I'm after a glimpse of dull purplish bloom only a few shades darker than the pitcher plant's teacups. I remember Peter's rule for seeing whales in the summer. "Go up to the lighthouse four or five times in July," he said, "and look out to sea, and I guarantee you, if you do that four or five times, on one of those trips you'll see a whale."
Peter's rule applies to cranberries too (and maybe to other things as well). I spied one, then another, then another, until I had gathered a handful in my cupped palm. If I bent down to look four or five times, on one of those times I'd begin to find them lying quietly about here and there, attached to a delicate green thread, a dark jewel set on a bracelet of tiny green leaves, bog treasure.