UNDERSTORY 004: The shadblow serviceberry are in bloom at fields without fences in the cliffside above the river.

Down in the valley below, their namesake, large river fish called shad, are beginning to make their run up the Delaware river to spawn. Just a bit downstream, in the river town of Lambertville, street vendors and local musicians are preparing for this weekend’s annual Shad Fest.

The shadblow serviceberry are so named because they bloom and fruit in unison with the movements and migrations of the shad. A native shrub with sweet dark berries that fruit in June, the Iroquois called it *blood medicine,* and used an infusion of the dark berries and twigs to support the movement and flow of life giving fluid throughout the body.

Some decades ago the shad populations were in free fall, the river was polluted, and artificial dams limited their access to spawning grounds. But, the local river keepers worked to clean our life giving body of water. They removed the dams and allowed the river to move and flow freely once again. The shad began to flourish and their numbers swelled. The local people celebrate their return with an annual festival. On the farm, the shadblow serviceberry bloom in white clusters each year with the return of spring.

There is a narrative that connects us, a thread that flows from these cliffs, down to the river, and throughout human history, to weave a story of people and place.