Last fall we went and spent three nights at Breitenbush Hot Springs, soaking in the pools and poking around in the woods looking for mushrooms. These are not those mushrooms. In fact, we got skunked. The previous weekend had seen a massive festival of mushroom hunters—led by David Arora, the guy who wrote the book “All That The Rain Promises, And More”—so the woods were stripped bare of anything remotely edible. The next weekend I went up into the Gorge with a friend new to Portland, a food pro with a lucky look about him, and that’s when we found these mushrooms poking their little yellow heads out of the duff. Nothing focuses the mind like finding an edible mushroom. Frankly, much of your time is spent walking into unfamiliar woods on steep slopes getting wet. But when you see one, oh boy your brain jumps on all the details of the context like a starving man: what’s the date? How high am I? What kind of tree is this under? What’s that plant growing next to it? Not because of training, probably you don’t have any…but because here you are in the woods, looking for something to eat, and relying on your wits and senses alone to do it. It’s real moment of comradeship with all the wild animals who do it all the time. Then you gloat a little bit, take out your knife and paper bag, and start thinking about whether you have enough butter at home.
under Down on the Farm.