I have been struggling with some pain from a chronic health condition, but walking seems to help, so I have taken a few long lunch breaks over the last few days to walk through the forest near my home.
Being under the trees, the rain water dripping all around me, the warm glow of hedgehog mushrooms dotting the deep moss -- it reminds me of being a child looking for Easter eggs. Hedgehogs are the colour of the inside of orange peel. A soft warm peach colour.
"All of our senses and capabilities, even our spiritual capacities, are based on ongoing contact with the natural world," said Stephen Kellert, professor of social ecology at Yale University. "Contact with nature is essential to our heath and physical well-being."
Today was cool, just above freezing when I headed out, and I was surprised to find that several of the mushrooms I left in the field to fatten up a few days ago, were already large enough to pick. I always try to take half of the mushrooms in a patch. I leave the rest to cast their spores and in case there are other pickers coming along after me.
This has been a good year for Hedgehogs and I have seen very few Boletes although last year seemed to produce Boletes in large numbers. The mysterious factors behind mushroom proliferation...
The leaves are now off most of the trees. The alders are looking ratty, though still holding their old green leaves, the invasive hawthorns are fringed with tan and orange, still green near their crowns, the apple trees in the neighborhoods show wet apples as the leaves thin and turn to gold. The Oaks, maples, and deciduous shrubs have all given up their brown and red and gold to the relentless rains.
Soon only the winter oyster mushrooms will draw me off the trails. Then the long sleep of winter. And THEN paddling time!