The Daily Grace
The Daily Grace

Blueberries for Buddy

Aug 28, 2023 | nature & awe, birds & bears | 16 comments

AS YOU NO DOUBT know if you’ve been a reader of The Daily Grace for a while, Tim and I spend a great deal of the summer at our beautiful retreat high in the mountains of Western North Carolina. There’s so much to love about our time up there, including the fact it is generally 30 degrees cooler than in the HOT HOT lowlands of our Columbia, South Carolina home. There is also this. The high country landscape is wildly lush and green this time of year, and that makes for stunning vistas and tiny life snapshots that are enchanting.

It also makes conditions ideal for the wild blueberries that grow in our meadow each August, and thus for the black bears the blueberries attract. Experts say they’re bulking up for the coming winter sleep, and it’s something to behold as those big guys pick off the berries, berries that are tiny, itty bitty in fact, Maine-sized rather than the domesticated variety we find in South Carolina or that you’d typically see in the grocer’s produce. How on earth can a creature that big with big paws and big claws and a big snout can get the little things from branch to mouth to tummy? And in such quantity as to help put on real poundage! It’s one of the great mysteries to me, and it’s also a joy as we watch for the bears and hope for the chance to see them eat.

All of which I’m telling you because it led me to this.

Blueberries for Sal is a picture book about a little girl named Sal and a little bear named Little Bear who both go blueberry hunting with their mothers. It came on my radar via a feature on Lit Hub and for the first time in my grown-up life it occurred to me: I can read a children’s book. JUST FOR MY OWN ENJOYMENT, even if I am an adult woman! And I did! I placed Sal on reserve and scooted right over to the library to pick it up.

Blueberries for Sal was delightful, which came as no surprise since McCloskey wrote and illustrated Make Way for Ducklings, a volume I read to my own daughter time and again all those years ago. Still it tickled me so to read this one just for me, and it reminded me what a gift it can be to do something out of the ordinary, and to let it change your perspective, and how just doing that can lighten and loosen.


Summer is such a beautiful time for wonder and awe and joy. I do hope you’ve found it, or that it’s found you, and that you’re filled to the brim in the way those teeny-tiny blueberries can remarkably, miraculously do the work of sustaining a big black bear the whole winter through.

our sweet “Buddy” bear

With the help of these guys, I believe it’s happened for me.

Until next time,



  1. Loren Crawford

    What a beautiful place and so happy to see Buddy enjoying the season. Blueberries for Sal is a lovely book. I read a lot of pictures just for me, middle grade and YA too- I just love them. But then I prefer the company of children to that of most adults, yourself excepted of course-

  2. Georgia

    Your photos are indeed lovely! Thanks for the recommendation to read Blueberries for Sal :).

    And yes, you should consider writing a children’s book!

  3. Melissa Ligon

    Such a beautiful retreat you have! And Buddy the bear needs his own storybook, don’t you think?

    • Cathy

      Now there’s an idea …

      Thanks, Melissa!

  4. Patti Miller

    Blueberries for Sal is a beloved favorite from my childhood, my children’s childhood and now my grandchildren’s childhood.
    (Along with all of McCloskey’s picture books)

    Thank you for this reminder.

    • Cathy

      I’m so happy to hear this, Patti! I don’t know how I missed it, but I sure am glad it made its way into my life now. Thanks for commenting. I so appreciate it!

      • Donna Tucker

        Love this Cathy and I love all the pic! A Buddy bear book is a great idea!

        • Donna Tucker

          ^pics ?

          • Donna Tucker

            That was supposed to be a smile, not a question mark! I always enjoy your heartfelt writing and beautiful pictures!

  5. Bill Boykin

    I think I will have to get that book and read it to my grandchildren.

    • Cathy

      I think they will love it! It was published in 1948—and the retro feel of it is also very cool. Enjoy!

  6. Colette Rodbell

    Amazing pictures!!

    • Cathy

      Thanks, Colette! Hard to take a bad one up here.

  7. Angela Blair

    Such beautiful pictures and a beautiful way to describe nature!

    • Cathy

      We’re so lucky to get to enjoy this mountain and all it offers. After a childhood in the beautiful mountains of SW Virgina, I had to get back—which I know you understand!

  8. Sally Gregg

    Well this Sal will have to read that children’s book as well. Liove that Buddy bear and his blueberry loving clan!!

Cathy Rigg Headshot

Hi. I’m Cathy.

This is a blog about writing, creative living, and grace in the everyday. It’s my hope this little spot on the internet will be for you a place of quiet and reflection, a source for inspiration, and a reminder there’s beauty all around—we simply need to keep our hearts open to see it. Thank you for being here with me.

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