Archive for May, 2013

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photo by Helen Geisler

There’s been no love lost in the past twelve years and freedom has surged into the darkest of hearts.  Force and weaponry are the true catalysts of democracy.  I pushed a button, a little black button, and the result of that action was thrust through a series of wires that brought me to the first world, the remains of the first world.  There I found long lists of demands and requests, I found limits on my brain, like shackles on a gorilla, forced into captivity upon appearance alone.  Only understanding leads to love, how can you love something if you don’t understand it.  As we bury children across the globe, for their benefit no doubt, I am left wondering where the delicious sense of victory, the heightened sense of superiority, the frenzied lust of domination is?  I thought this last decade of kicking ass and spreading Jesus’ golden light across the entire face of the Earth would leave me elated and high strung, like a stallion with a dark and oily erection.  But, no, I feel naked and alone.  I feel like a young teen on anti-depressants.  I can see the darkness, and am drawn to know it, yet I have never touched it, it has never been encountered, never faced and so the ugly ruminations of my, of our, collective dysfunction have only become more images perverted, more insane, more normal. Wouldn’t it be nice if the tale were all just true, like a beautiful childhood fairy tale.  I wish I could just open their godly book and read it, like an instruction manual, and follow it into Yahweh’s gleaming kingdom as it stands, decorated with naked babies and harps and demons.  That would be so nice.  It would be so nice to just get a job, after school of course, and work, and work, and work, and work until yes, the time came for a beautiful viagra retirement, where I could prune my square bushes and read fancy novels to my beautiful yet wrinkled spouse.  We could vacation in El Salvador, or Myanmar, maybe take a trip with Kim Jong Un and Dennis Rodman, see the sights and break bread with Putin, and Bush, Obama, and all of the other despots who actually aren’t despots.   No they are not, they are brave and good men fighting, as well, for the light of our lord, the Christ, to bring salvation and drugs, ammunition and solidarity, low wages and pedophilia to every corner of this wild and free planet spinning, as it likes to do, in the middle of fucking no where…

morel

It’s that time of the year again!  The young,electric green has sprung back into the trees, the flowers have begun to bloom in the redbuds, in the dogwoods and the showy orchids are sprouting in the hollows!  The vernal quarter of our annual circle has replaced the monotonous yet striking stark of winter with pure, unadulterated life.  This season is always exciting in the southeastern woodlands.  It is like a match has been set to dry tinder, boom!  Life is back! morel habitat One of my favorite parts of this season is the return of the morel mushroom.  I wait for it every year and each year it comes but always in it’s own special way and time.  No two years are alike and this year is no exception.  Last year came on quick, March was hot and the leaves and growth of spring came earlier than I had ever seen in my fifteen years of east coast living.  The morels followed suit and by March 24 we were collecting them.  Then a dry spell hit at the would be peak time and dried everything out.  There never really was a second bloom.  Usually the morels rise from the forest floor in succession.  It seems the blacks come first, then the little grays, and I’m not sure if it’s the grays that turn into big yellows or if the yellows do their own thing, and then, after about three weeks to a month, it is over.  As I speak I’d say we’re about two weeks in and it is a late season.  This spring has been cool and slow to progress. There has been good moisture with light rains falling sporadically over the entire “window” that is the yearly cycle of the morel.
morel tableThe numbers of mushrooms I have been finding in my favorite spots have not been stellar, though I am not complaining.  It is hard for me to wander far from my usual picking haunts as they have provided great harvests in the past, though I know there are other places that must be just sitting there, full of gorgeous, mature morels waiting for me to stumble upon them.  I try to scout a bit each year for new spots and I have walked miles this year doing so, though so far I have not found the new treasures I had hoped for.  All is well, though, my payment has been in solitude and time spent in beautiful places witnessing the rebirth of Spring!

Josie morel

My daughter Josie Mae with a fat basket

The morel is a magical fruit of the forest, it is so strange and enchanting that when you do happen upon one it is as if you are living in a fairy tale, they are quintessentially other worldly, though we often tend to forget that we live on a planet in outer space!  The morel plainly brings that fact into focus.  Each year the blooming of the morels tends to coincide with Easter.  I’ve always thought of the morel hunt as sort of an epic adult Easter egg hunt without all the corny rabbit laying eggs bullshit, this deal is real!

Hunting morels is enthralling and worth it’s weight in gold gastronomically as the morel is one of the tastiest mushrooms on Earth!  The morel does grow in all of the United States so, if I were you, I’d look it up in your region, see when it blooms and then, at the right time, head out and begin your search.  This is a great way to enter the endless world of wild food foraging and really scratch that primal itch.  You need be aware of a poisonous look alike that is called the false morel.  Look it up.  When you get to know the two you will see that they are easy to tell apart, but until then be vigilant and if you find what you think are morels consult someone in the know before ingesting them.  If you run into a huge patch don’t panic, they are easy to dry and store so that you can enjoy them throughout the year.

morels and greens

Morels with garlic mustard and dock, two varieties of wild forest greens

My best luck in finding morels has been in deep hollows with poplars, spice bush, showy orchids and the like.  I do best where the soil is a deep black and is loose and rich.  I have also lucked upon them in riverbeds in the silty soil many times clustered around Ash trees and Sycamores and Elms.  There are many tales of where to find them, I find all rules can be broken but that some general consistencies do hold true.  Lately some guy on a morel message board site has been claiming that cedar thickets put out tons of big yellows.  I have not confirmed this personally but remain intrigued.  I know that out west they also grow in coniferous forests and like burn sites.  Apple orchards, or abandoned orchards, have also been mentioned many times.   During this time of the year I can imagine them everywhere but don’t always find them everywhere.  They are magical, mystical and worth every ounce of energy you put into finding them.  Bring your kids along!  They increase the number of mushrooms you will bring home and they love the thrill of the hunt!  I have spent many a day with the kids picking to our hearts content all the while reveling in the beauty of our Earth.  At this time of year the forests are coming alive and when we spend time in them, we come alive too.  Morel hunting is a great way to reignite your connection to all of life.  We are blessed beings living in a blessed Universe.  Go check it out!!!