Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Lost and Found in the Woods

On Saturday, Greg and I decided to walk to Wilson's for some fresh fruits and vegetables. We're lucky to live so close to the bike path that instead of walking along the road side we could take a leisurely stroll through the woods. Here's a cute pic of Greg manning the granny cart:

New England woods have a special place in my heart, especially in our neighborhood, where I can imagine Paul Revere or William Dawes might have ridden their horses through the very spot I'm walking, warning their countrymen "the British are coming!" Or I can pretend I'm walking along Robert Frost's Road Less Travelled. Realistically, I know our bike path isn't that old, but it's certainly possible the trees and rocks are. And it's possible our squirrels' ancestors used to peek in on John Adams' household.

Anyway, my favorite thing to do in the woods is look for things. I'm a champion looker. For those who don't know me personally -- I have a gift for finding four leaf clovers and -- bizarrely -- a paperclip every day. But I'm not picky, so I also like to check out squirrels, birds, rabbits, and whatever else is around. There's something about observing nature that just resets all the clocks in my head and improves my mood, my energy and my sense of humor.

Early this spring, after reading The Omnivore's Dillemma (which I highly recommend), I decided that I wanted to take up mycology. It's very easy to find people who are interested in mushroom hunting, and easy to find books on it, but nearly everyone who knows anything about mycology agrees that the best way to learn it is by accompanying another mycologist out on a hunt. So far, I haven't been able to track down anyone to show me how, so a few months ago I set out on my own down the bike path to see what I could find. What did I find?

Four leaf clovers. Oh well. I guess when all you've got's a hammer, all you see is nails.

Not a single mushroom! It's possible I wasn't looking in the right places, or that I was looking at the wrong time of year. But whatever the reason, I pretty much gave up on it and figured I was destined for lesser discoveries.

Well, whyever I didn't find them then, we did find them this time out! Tons!

I didn't eat any, of course. But it was fun to find them, and when I wasn't even expecting them. I'm excited now to see how many more there will be this summer and fall. Last week was pretty rainy, so I'm guessing muggy hot days after it rains are a good time to go hunting.

I wanted to stay and look longer, and maybe take a few home to look up on the internet. But, we weren't even to Wilson's yet. And we had miles to go...

1 comment:

Greg said...

I bet Professor Ruck would be willing to take you on a hunt.