Saturday, November 12, 2011

Cold air and snow brace us

Photo of lobster mushroom, by gabriel amadeus on Flickr Creative Commons license

Lately my mind has been consumed with foraging. I think of mushrooms and their fluted caps, rose hips swaggering on branches, bull-whip kelp in brash sections on the beach.
I know little about my topic, though. I look at many blogs, and I went chanterelle-hunting for the first time a few weeks ago. My knowledge is nascent, but I'm building on it.

The weather here in the lowlands of the Pacific Northwest is turning unpleasant for me, wet and full of leaf rot. The past few days have been dusk-dark at mid-day. They aren't just shorter since last week’s time change, but full of looming catastrophe in the hanging darkness and just-deferred downpour.

Walking in Seattle in the dim noonday, taking care not to slip on damp leaves piled along the sloping sidewalks, I think of Snoqualmie Pass and the Cascades. As of this morning, they have received fresh snow and an order to don tire chains.

The air at the Pass, I know, is brisk and cleansing to the lungs. Looming mountains lift the eyes into clear air or air hazed by snowfall. One feels the elevation of the barometric pressure, and steps with energy on snowshoes.

Sometimes the air and the snow are the cold water in which we can swim.

I look forward to diving into this land, to finding the rose hips and making a syrup to pour over cake -– to eating that cake and making other starches from chestnuts. 

To gathering. It is endless, the possibilities.