Wednesday, April 17, 2013

A Mushroom Hunting I Did Go

They tell me that it's morel time, so on this glorious spring morning I decided to go mushroom hunting.  I simply adore a properly butter-fried, lightly breaded, fresh morel!  So, I donned my big floppy hat and my sandals and sallied forth into the forest. 

At first I was walking a bit fast, I suppose, aiming for the cedar grove on the back of our land.  Morels, you see, are said to love cedar groves and dead wood.  On the way there I found a few garlic mustard plants that needed to be pulled.  (Garlic mustard is a non-native invasive that is taking over our woodlands.)
As I reached the top of our back ridge I began to slow down and take in the woodland around me.  Coming in to the cedar grove is always magical.  So little else grows there that it is reminiscent of a fairy land.
I crept along through the thin leaf cover continually readjusting my eyes, here looking for the telltale raised clumps of leaves that can signal an emerging morel, there searching for the sea sponge like cone of a morel cap.
What did I find?  I found a black striped yellow swallowtail butterfly with it's wings seamingly still slightly damp struggling to gain first flight.
I found young Solomon seal plants, preparing to put forth their first blossoms.

I waded through patches of may-apples with their flower buds ready to burst.
I discovered some white trillium blooming in the valley between our two ridges.
And I hunted under the branches of a large flowering quince bush a mere stone's throw from the trillium.
Sometimes I rested and sometimes I crept slowly along.  Sometimes I focused my vision, scanning one patch of forest floor after another, and sometimes I use scatter vision, letting my eyes remain unfocused while sweeping the distance in the hope of sensing an aberration. I sniffed the air fro the unmistakable scent of mushrooms.  I listened for the sound of minute leaf disturbances.  I focused all of my mental energies on finding the mind of the mushroom.  And what do you suppose I found?

I found peace of mind, I found untold beauty, I found fresh air and bird songs everywhere I turned.

But I found not one, single, solitary morel.

Next time I will take my sweetheart with me.  In spite of being slightly fungi-phobic he is a veritable mushroom magnet.

{Note:  As I was seeking a techno-free environment as well as succulent fungi this fine morning, I took no camera with me, therefore each and every picture in this post was carefully chosen from goggle images to recreate as nearly as possible my delightful trek.}


  1. LOL I just sent you an email on JUST THAT subject! !! Great minds think alike right?! Thanks for the pictures, too! You truly liVe in my dream world.

  2. Very nice, Barb. That's so often our experience too. Many times we don't find what we went looking for, but enjoy the meandering so much.

  3. Just reading this took me there, with you and relaxed me... I was in serious need of a walk through the forest and instead am tied to the sink scrubbing dishes and cleaning mouse poop :/ Oooohhh, deep breath, thank you for the lovely stroll. xoxo

  4. Beautifully written. Thank you. I also sallied forth into our cedar bush (Eastern Ontario) to look for morels several years in a row, sadly, the only things that will grow there (sometimes in great profusion) are puffballs and drop-dead-delicious salmon waxcaps later in summer. But every walk out there brings a good sweep of the busy mind, and that is how you can find yourself lying down on your belly, slowly, carefully, to observe at peace the woodcock you just discovered (because you were slowly and thoroughly scouring the forest floor with your "morel eyes" on), which is STILL sitting on its nest despite your presence. Priceless gems of moments that cannot be found anywhere else but between you and Mother Nature. Kinda like you said :-)