What's the Morel of the Story?

As you may already know, I'm a bit of a nut when it comes to wild mushrooms. Years ago a friend invited me out to a patch of woods where he knew we'd find chanterelles. We gathered a grocery bag full of them within an hour, and had an amazing dinner. Ever since then I've been hooked.

But being a mushroom hunter in Southern California isn't easy. There's not much rain here, so mushrooms are a harder to come by, don't last as long, and tend to be smaller. But it's exactly this scarcity that draws me out into nature looking again and again.

The photo you see here was over seven years in the making. Morel mushrooms are some of the tastiest, and also notoriously difficult to find. I've been searching for them for years - without any luck. Last year, while hiking with some friends we happened on a patch of forest and found quite a few morels. Unfortunately they were all too old to eat. 

Over the last year, I've been trying to discover the conditions that cause these mushrooms to fruit. They are known to show themselves in spring, often in May after the ground warms up. This weekend, we returned to our spot. Within minutes we found our first morel. We thought we would be in for quite the harvest. Over the next two hours we found exactly six more -a few handfuls of the tasty mushrooms. It was a record by no means, nevertheless we were all ecstatic. In this case, persistence paid off. But that's not to say all the "unsuccessful" mushroom hunts weren't great hikes. 

It's easy to get caught up with our goals, and lose sight that we're on a lovely walk in the woods. Today, right now, just take a moment to appreciate right where you're at. Come back to that appreciation now and again. You'll thank yourself for it.