Inman tells the goat-woman about how he found a bush of huckleberries. Why is it important to him? Where does their conversation lead after this?
Inman finally manages to find a bit of solitude and refuge when he meets up with the goat woman on a mountain trail in Charles Frazier's novel, Cold Mountain. As they discuss the fighting that has caused his wounds, he remembers a "late-bearing bush of huckleberries" that he has come across "this very morning." Inman has seen little kindness in the past months, only war and violence. He feels guilty for killing the simple-minded Union men "so ignorant it took many lessons to convince them to load their cartridges ball foremost." They continue marching against the Confederate lines, and Inman continues killing them "until you grew heartsick and they would still keep ranking up to march southward." Inman's world has become but a field of death--such a change of his former life that few memories remind him of the peaceful world he knew before. But the huckleberry bush is a revelation to him. As he eats them for breakfast and watches a flock of passenger pigeons fly overhead,
At least that much remained unchanged, he had thought, berries ripening and birds flying... So that morning he had looked at the berries and the birds and had felt cheered by them, happy they had waited for him to come to his senses, even though he feared himself deeply at variance with such elements of the harmonious.