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Sometimes You Just Need Mushrooms

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.

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 with pears, grapes, and spicebush berries. But any feelings of self-pity evaporated when we hit the mother lode of fall mushrooms: honeys, hens, and chickens. Only a true mycophile can fully understand that moment of discovery. It’s magic, a range of emotions jammed together into a single second. A flash of exhilaration, followed by self-doubt (did I really see that?), then 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 fungus with your bare fingers.

That’s my kind of medicinal mushroom. Finding them made me feel better. Eating them was pretty good, too. We dried the rest of the honeys, and sautéed and froze the 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.



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