Saturday, May 12, 2012

Morel Madness

Lynn spent a weekend with her in-laws, hunting for morel mushrooms last spring. Although she said they were unlucky, their neighbors were more fortunate. They had set up card tables on the side of the road selling morels to people, like Lynn, who were dying for a taste.

Morel hunting has always been a spring ritual for my family. My Dad has secret haunts all over Leelanau County that he has visited since he was young and guards protectively. His secret locations and the mushrooms themselves are not easy to find. They blend into and hide under the leaves and make only a brief appearance during the flash that they call spring between winter and summer. It is easy to walk past morels without even realizing it, even if you are on the hunt. Well practiced, however, my Dad can walk behind us sweeping the ground with his eyes, finding mushrooms we nearly stepped on.

Even now, despite loving the taste of morels, it is the search that I remember most fondly when I am far from Michigan in spring. Morel hunting provides a rare, focused time in the woods with my father. As the spring sun beat down through leave-less branches, we would discuss rare plant species, the weather, unusual fungus and he would tell me stories all while wandering in a sea of trillium.

As a side note, I spoke on the phone with my father today and it seems that he has not been lucky thus far this year. Knowing it is all about timing, though, I am still optimistic and am dreaming of scrambled eggs with dried morels next time I am in Michigan.

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