Light In The Forest

Skyla strikes gold in the deep dark woods.

Skyla strikes gold in the deep dark woods.

One of the things I really love about picking chanterelles with the kids is the chance to just walk through the forest chatting about whatever comes up. It’s such a relaxed way to spend time together, without all the intensity that rises when we’re doing other activities, like fishing or team sports.

On the afternoon above, Skyla and I talked about everything from her new teacher at school to potential Halloween costumes. Nothing all that consequential, but nice.

I also really appreciate that picking mushrooms isn’t as gear-intensive as our other pursuits–nothing to prep, no gear to wash off afterward, not even any lunches to make. We just go when we’re ready, walk around as long as we want, and quit when we’re done.

Some would say, “just go hiking or walking in the woods,” but I don’t think I’m there yet. I still need to have some kind of goal, or purpose to our outings, and I think searching for mushrooms provides just enough of it. For both me and the kids. As Tom McGuane once said about fishing, “I have to have a game to play.”

And I haven’t even touched on the eating part: chanterelle pizza, pasta with cream sauce, sauteed chanterelles on polenta…

Or the beauty of walking slowly through the woods this time of year. Or how close to home we can pick chanterelles. Or…

Okay, so that’s more than one thing I love about chanterelles. But you get the point.

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