Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thankful for mushrooming, Part IV

One of the mushrooms that we didn't pick, seen below, sort of shimmered with a most pale yellow-green sheen. Lamont told me that look signaled poisonous. The photo doesn't really show the color properly, but you can see the sheen.
When I saw this next remnant of a huge tree, I stopped and stood there for a few moments before I even put my camera up to my eye. I felt as if I stood before the altar in an awe-inspiring cathedral. I took several photos and liked what I saw in my little view screen. What do you think/feel? I'm very curious about your reaction to these photos.
Again, from a different angle which gives you a look at the upward-pointing shard of wood at the very top.
You can see in this photo that the wood has fallen away, leaving a formation similar to steps, albeit moss-covered, but leading upward nevertheless.
I asked Lamont which why were we going, and he pointed down and to the left. When I looked I saw a huge fallen tree and heard a creek, both between me and where he meant for us to go. "What makes you think I can go that way?" I asked. "There's a great big ol' tree in the way." "There's a way, Mom. We'll make it work," he replied. And he did. On the far left of the photo, see where the trunk changes color? And on the ground beneath that spot, another place that is more brown than green? Lamont stepped first on the lower spot, then on the spot on the trunk, showing me where to put my feet, then waited on top of the tree to provide support for my ultimately successful efforts.
I even paused atop the trunk, with Lamont steadying me, to shoot this photo of the running water.
More little beauties we didn't pick.
These two, from above ...
...and beside.
Here's the last chanterelles that I found on Nov. 11, with the Gerber knife Leland loaned me alongside.
As we neared the car--yes, Lamont said that's what we were doing but you couldn't prove it by me because I thought we were way higher up than the car--Lamont searched the high bank to our left.
Remember back when I started the mushrooming series, I mentioned that success was 90% preparation and 10% perspiration? Well, take a good look at Leland's hair and you'll have an idea of just how hot we'd all become. With my two raincoats keeping in my body heat as I endeavored to be a successful mushroom hunter, walking, clambering, climbing, kneeling, the only wet I felt didn't come from the occasional mist or sprinkle of rain--my back was damp and sweaty. And Leland had long hung his wonderful brown Indiana Jones sort of hat on his backpack. As for the wet spots on the back of his thighs, and it appears also on Lamont's, likely it came from walking through wet thigh-high foliage.
After getting one chanterelle, Leland spied more, at the edge of the drop-off to our right.
He carefully harvested it.
Back at the car, with the bounty on display. The guys have already shed their backpacks, Lamont his gaiters, too.
Me and the mushrooms. I couldn't feel those damp gray pants at all, what with the other pair underneath, so I didn't change clothes. I just got in the front seat for the ride home.
On the way back, we ate our picnic riding along, enjoying memories of the guys' Daddy and his Toll House cookies and Chex party mix. All of his friends knew LeRoy loved to make those two things and then share them with whomever happened to be around. The guys were too young when he died to have many memories like that, so it was special to talk about them as we ate. Later on we stopped for gasoline, and I got a bottle of water and a bottle of orange juice. After a visit to the facilities, I knew I'd be OK to drink both of them, which I promptly did. As we rode we also talked about how to divide the 10-12 pounds of mushrooms. Since Lamont's been taking all of his others to 3 Doors Down, I figured we'd do the same with these. He suggested that I keep some and try cooking them, so I did. Leland decided to keep some to cook at home, too. In no time it seemed, we had parked near the restaurant and then picked up our baskets for the short walk to the door. After the guys spread the chanterelles out for all to see, I shot this photo. Dave, the chef owner of 3 Doors Down, stood nearby, clearly happy with our haul.
All in all, I believe Lamont's comments earlier in the day, about our mushrooming adventure, summed it up pretty well. He said, "What's more surreal--an African American man has been elected President of the United States, I'm taking my mother in my own car that I have insurance for mushrooming hunting in Oregon?" He laughed as he reflected on those thoughts. I said, "And your brother,too, only one week from the election." "Yeh," he replied, "they're both surreal," and gave me a big grin.

Like Bob Hope always sang, guys, "Thanks for the memories." You did you Mama a huge favor, taking her to the woods.


Anonymous said...

Great photographs and commentary. Those old growth Douglas Fir stumps (one or two many have been Cedar)are majestic. Just imagine what that placed looked like prior to being logged, when the entire forest had these 200 feet tall 6 and 7 feet in diameter trees! I hope you get a chance to visit one while you are here in Oregon. Opal Creek is a great place to go, you will love it.

Keep writing and telling us the stories with the camera!

Lynette said...

Thank you, Michael, for the Opal Creek recommendation. I would really like to see a place like that, camera around my neck. I'm glad you've enjoyed the mushrooming experience.