I’m not complaining. We all have our ups and downs, hard times, rough spots, and the past few months have been like that for me. No indication that things are going to change any time soon, so I decided to give myself a shot in the arm and get back to what makes me feel most grounded, satisfied, and relaxed. If you’re a regular reader here, you know what that means: foraging.
I dug into my airline miles and travelled east to forage with my dear friend Mark. It’s been dry where he lives, and we struck out in many of our usual spots. No pears, grapes, or spicebush berries this year. But any feelings of self-pity evaporated when we hit the mother lode of fall mushrooms: honeys, hens, and chickens, pounds and pounds of them! Only a true mycophile can fully understand that moment of discovery. It’s magic, a range of emotions jammed together into a single second. First comes a flash of exhilaration, followed by a moment self-doubt (did I really see that?), then comes sheer joy, a loud yelp, and an uninhibited happy dance. Finally you sink to the ground, digging down into the leaf duff, prying out pounds and pounds of delicious fungi with your bare fingers (or maybe a mushroom knife, if you’re a good little scout and came prepared).
THAT’s my kind of medicinal mushroom. Finding them made me feel better than a shot in the arm. Eating them was pretty good, too. We dried some of the honeys, and sautéed and froze the leftover hens and chickens. And because I have my priorities straight, I left my clothes behind (to be retrieved at a later date) and stuffed my suitcase full of mushrooms before heading back to Santa Fe. Feeling much more like myself.