Teeming Hills

I've been out on a couple of occasions now to look for elusive chanterelles; on both occasions our little group donned rain gear, Tilly hats & wellingtonesque boots with the intention of slogging up timber road cuts to seek out our amber or smoke colored prey. Few mushrooms were seen on either foray, instead encounters were made with several patinae banana slugs, lying as discarded drawer pulls on the forest floor. Salamanders too were observed, ochre backs and fiery red bellies displayed as flashes against fallen hemlock needles and rotted leaves. Millipedes aplenty too, scuttling around from well-rotted wood buffets and ancient decaying logs. Life was everywhere. We found blackberries, festooned on bushes larger than any I have ever seen, some as big as my thumb, others dainty and seed-filled. There was a curious plant that no one knew, looking like a cross between kale and a turnip, wavy venous leaves sprouting from the shoulders of something that held the promise of becoming a swollen root. Winter berries and wild grapes too, amazing that the fruit remained on the plants here in black bear country; we wondered later if there was perhaps a big cat in the area or a herd of elk, something to drive away the ursa. The locals told us we were too early to find chanterelles on this side of the Coastals, that we'd need at least 3" of consistent rain and cooler, wetter days; days that would be here soon enough they promised. I'm looking forward to gathering those promised fungus, tossing them in the sautee pan with butter and a bit of rosemary, slipping them into the folds of an omelet with bits of chevre, pouring myself a glass of pinot gris and listening our rainy herald.

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