I was one of those little kids with muddy knees and swamp soaked tennies. The woods were my playground. Hiking worn deer paths and dipping toes in icy brooks was what I did. A lot of what I learned growing up involved my time spent among the trees. Yet as an adult I became aware that for as much as I knew about nature, there was more to discover. One such treasure was the coveted morel mushroom. When I learned they existed, I couldn’t wait to begin the search.
But first, you need to learn what to look for. So I did research online. In books. The tips of finding the morel were plentiful. Search under a deal elm or among an old apple orchard. After a good rain and a few warm days. When the lilacs bloom.
But when I walked the woods, I couldn’t find.
So you find a guide/teacher to take you further. A friend would show us what to look for. Do you know what it’s like when you take a picture of a flower with your smart phone? You point the camera to the petals, and look through the lens. All you see is blurriness until all of a sudden the camera adjusts. The flower pops into focus. And you see! A teacher can point the camera, but it’s the process of your Self adjusting that brings it into focus.
Which makes you realize…
There comes a time when you need to search on your own. I chose early mornings. Before my world woke up. It was peaceful and quiet.
You never know what you’ll come upon. Sometimes it was scary being alone. Who knew what lurked in parts of the dark woods that I hadn’t been. I could get stung, scratched by thorns and lost. Yes, if I’d stray from the path…
At times you question and consider giving up. I’d scan the tops of trees for white dying limbs with remnants of bark. I’d speed through the forest for two year dead elms that the internet promised would neighbor the morel. And even if I did find a mushroom, would it be real, or the false morel? Was I the only one who searched and didn’t find?
But you do find…you discovery along the way. I came upon an albino fawn once when I slowed down. Something I would have never seen had I not been on this path. Without realizing, I was becoming more in tune with nature. Being still not just in body but mind, I’d now notice how the sun would slant through leaves and dance along the forest floor. Breathing steady, nature would come alive around me; chirping birds, chipmunks scampering. I could smell garlic mustard. Wild leeks, and flowering blossoms. Feel the moist coolness of fern tickle my thighs. I was becoming more aware, like I had been as that little girl with pigtails down to her hips.
So that soon, you begin to see through the layers. When I took my eyes from the tops of trees, looked down past the umbrella leaves, the blood root, trillium, and spring beauties, sometimes pushing aside what was hiding my view… When I’d search through the layers, around a felled tree that just felt like it would have morels around it instead of thinking it matched a description in a book…I stopped being an intruder in nature.
And you see things from a different perspective. I’d sink my knees into the moist muddy earth. I began to feel a part of it all, or it all, of me. And suddenly, indescribably, it would come into focus like the blurry lens of Self suddenly adjusting -the tattered worn leaves pressed into the earth, bark chips matching the browns. Contrasting bright green sprouting up intermittently. Then there they were…these beautiful sculpted morels. One popping into view. Another. Then a cluster. Like magic, only beyond.
It feeds you. Squeezing the hollow stalk a thumb width above its roots, I’d pick a few and take them home. These would nourish my body. But…it was more than that.
And because of that, you want more. Once you get a glimpse, you can’t stop. Forever you search, aware there are these treasures in nature to be discovered. You know it’s real. That it’s true. You know that even if for the moment you aren’t seeing…it’s always there.
So you stay on the path. Even when you leave the woods, you’ll be changed in some way. You’ll experience more fully. See from a different perspective. The trees a part of the forest and the forest a part of the trees. Even when you leave the woods. Yes, you’ll see things in ways you hadn’t before.
Maybe you’ll even notice that what seemed like just a blog about searching outer nature, also was about searching the nature within.
Blessings on your Search.
Live Your Light.