It’s a feeling for the likely spots
sun-mottled pockets woods deep,
rising from muddy stream gashes,
bright grass-masked swamps;
not too many leaves collaging the forest floor, mind;
better the needles of conifers,
a rust backdrop to the delicate chanterelles
proclaiming their golden yellow
in bold muted voices.

It’s a thrilling trespass,
for its discoveries:

intervals of disappointment,
blood-orange decoys,
sodden improvised paths,
geotagged goldmines,

the quiet gloam of the forest,
punctuated by birdsong;
the rare percussive thump of a bird
roused from its nesting ground.

The chanterelles are audacious in their smallness;
even close you might miss them.
They like their space, congregating in small choirs,
preferring isolation, their dipped caps pushed low.

Kneeling to the mossy ground,
you feel the pull of your back.
There are no roots, but you’ll want to
reach, harvest low into the pungent earth.

There’s a spongy nick in response to the
curve of the knife gliding through flesh,
a few strokes of the brush to keep dirt
out of the cloth bag.

This ritualized act of organic rebellion,
this foraging pilgrimage to the elemental,

emerges from woods,
lingers at the shared table
fruity and loamy in the nose,
singing on the tongue.

  • July 5, 2017