Staying In The Game

Wild Porcini

Friday, June 19, 2020

Yesterday, hunting mushrooms in the Deschutes National Forest, a sudden-learning epiphany stretched beyond me and illuminated something about all humankind.

This season’s cool weather and plentiful moisture provides wild mushrooms aplenty. My few times searching for edible mushrooms have yielded enough to satisfy my needs. In earlier visits and during light drizzles, seeing men carrying big buckets and walking deeply through the forest made me wonder if some folks hunt mushrooms full-time, for example, professional chefs or maybe others who sell fresh mushrooms to restaurants?

Yesterday, the common area seemed picked clean. Although mushrooms grow everywhere, many little ground holes were evidence of harvesting. I wandered with the dogs, happy they were having fun, but not discovering identifiable, safely-edible mushrooms. After nearly an hour, my thoughts turned to heading home.

Then, a possible mushroom, young, nearly hidden. I dug and yes, there it was, young and delicious. Immediately pepping up, I resumed walking while staring at the ground. After a long while and just before deciding again to give up, another mushroom! This one too old and squishy, but still it spiked my energy. Wanting to escape this unyielding area, I changed direction and walked toward parts unknown.

On finding a healthy mushroom, my spirits leaped. Surely, others were around. After lots of walking and staring at the ground, I saw another mushroom. Now, the three good ‘rooms in my bag suggested better hunting in this area, and, finally, the searching earned rewards. It’s not that mushrooms always are easy to spot, but they often have a noticeable presence. My bag did fill, and maybe because my seeing had become better-trained.

My point is that, assuming hunters had stripped the area, I’d often been ready to give up and go home. But each spotting of a mushroom, whether healthy or soggy, renewed my enthusiasm for searching. There was a pattern in that part of my brain, recognizing too few wins to continue searching, wanted to quit. Another part of my brain spiked at each find and pushed me to keep looking ahead.

In my long-ago working-past, during periods of job-hunting, without quick responses from recruiters and no relevant help-wanted ads in the newspaper, I’d feel like dropping out. Any suggestion of a possible interview renewed my optimism, energy, and enthusiasm.

Dear Friends: Even very simple encouragements can keep us focused and moving. Diana

2 thoughts on “Staying In The Game

  1. Diana I have so much joy reading about your leap into mushroom hunting! It truly is one of my very favorite pastimes, an excellent opportunity to get outside, get exercise, learn more about the natural world around me, and sometimes bring home delicious finds (and it was absolutely the best to do with my dog!). A personal favorite find was blue chanterelles, gorgeous and rare (to me). There is SO MUCH fun to be had in exploring mycological activity! I hope someday we can go out mushrooming together with your lovely pack of dogs!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. On your next planned visit to Eugene, give me a heads up. I’ll load the dogs and we’ll go to mushroom with you! Meanwhile, my new book just arrived: “All that the rain promises and more…” On your recommendation and it looks perfect. I absolutely love the cover, a fellow in the forest and wearing a tux, in one of his hands a trumpet and in the other a giant wild mushroom. Creative, fun, wonderful! I’ll have this book along my next time out. Thanks again, I appreciate your wisdom and generous advice.


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