In our 30’s, we loved to fish and bake our brains in the hot sun in a boat on a lake while playing guess and by golly with striped and bugle mouth bass. It’s a thrill of the hunt sort of exercise. Most of our catches we would apologize to the fish for the trouble and throw them back into the drink.
We also enjoyed hide and seek and Easter egg hunts as a child.
The Elusive Morel
Then we discovered the fun of hunting for Morel mushrooms.
Mushrooms in general grow in miserable humid forest conditions which means a hunter must be prepared to:
- Forge paths through poison oak, poison ivy
- Slog through mud puddles
- Fend off ticks, spiders, mosquitoes, creepy crawlers….
…all while guessing where the Morels live.
What about that is not to like?
For some people hunting for morels is an art form. A serious study of the lay of the land sort of research.
While we don’t care for the taste of Morels, our Grandma loved them. She liked to fry them up and have them along with sliced radishes on buttered bread. Her favorites
The Hunt Begins
One spring morning we took my four year old nephew on a quest to a nearby woods to search for Grandma’s Morels. He was a precocious, gung-ho ball of energy, up for anything high energy, high speed, a big voice and lots of noise.
We decked out in the proper clothes for a day in the woods.
- mud-stomping boots
- long pants
- long sleeve shirts
- bug spray
- two bags each to hold our finds
Goalpost Set at 15
The goal was to find at least 15 Morels total.
Morels are the only mushroom easy to identify. They look like brownish colored brains of evil outer space alien invaders that just randomly pop out of the ground.
Arrive at the entrance of Walnut woods bright and early,
A nice little wooded park at the edge of city limits. (about a mile away)
It rained the night before. Everything was wet, water droplets glistening in sunshine on leaves, trees grass, the forest seem to glow magically. And we’re looking for mushrooms…
As we walked along the path, well, we walked, he kept pace but in a wavy, more serpentiny manner, winding side to side ducking behind bushes and fauna to check the underbrush for the hidden treasures.
In a short time he shouted “I found one!” then a few seconds later “I found another one!” he was feeling pretty stoked about the prospect of more.
A Beautiful Little Tree
As fate would have it, we noticed a tree at the edge of the path just up ahead, a beautiful little tree. It wasn’t a big tree, Trunk was small, 2 – 4″, a large sapling with a canopy of branches arching well over the pathway.
We stood under tree and pondered. It was The Perfect Storm
A perfect storm is:
A disastrous situation which comes about through a concurrence of powerful factors
The Perfect Storm
The leaves hung heavy with rain water. And we pondered. (Hey, it was done to us…)
“Oh Nephew” (we called,) “Come here, we want to show you something”
And there he was. Bounce, bounce, hip hop over the foliage toward the path.
He landed with a jump right where we wanted him to land…immediately beneath the water soaked canopy.
His eyes wide with excitement, such innocence “What is it Auntie?” he impatiently asked.
We smiled and raised our hand to make a fist toward the trees trunk…
Now, we ask… Have you ever had a Chaos moment? When your brain says DOH split seconds before the sound escapes your mouth?
“This!” We shouted as we hit the tree trunk with a hard, sharp smack…then quickly took one giant step back
Buckets of rain water coursed down from the leaves and showered the boy head to toe with a voluminous splat.
The goal of this quest was to collect 15 mushrooms for doddering grandma and so far we had 2 between us, but now the kid is soaked and I am laughing too hard to see the devil in his eye
A New Purpose is Born
Suddenly the hunter becomes the hunted and new purpose is born.
No turning back now
From then on the hunt went to find mushrooms at your peril, through ambushes, carefully laid traps, subterfuge, point counter point.
Every time we reached for a morel – splash! He was waiting every time and supercharged with 5-year old revenge energy. We were toast.
Somehow in all the mayhem the magic number 15 arrived
By that time we both resembled big walking sponges
Nothing was dry…nothing
our boots squished with water at every step
We got into the car, sopping wet and drove home sopping wet.
It was a Long Wet Ride Home but Mission Accomplished
Grandma got her 15 morels and we got to act like a 5 year old again. A good day.
Mind Map for Morel Mushroom Speech