The Element of Surprise

It was good to be out today but I felt I was wasting my time. Alright, this wasn’t really true – I was exploring a new place and getting fresh air and exercise which is never really a waste of time. But I was in search of a special mushroom and it now seemed I’d […]

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No Need to Starve

At the store there’s no 2% milk or the hotdog bun section is bare or our favorite breakfast cereal has all been consumed by the locust swarm – the shoppers who got here a little earlier than we did. Immediately, the mind turns toward survival snaring, the digging of choice tubers or the use of […]

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The Good News

The news told me that this was the end of the world as we know it. But when I went outside, I noticed the sparrows gathering twigs for this spring’s nests. I noticed the skunk cabbage and ramps unfurling a rich green in the floodplain and reaching for the clear sky. I saw the squirrels […]

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Signs of Life

Winter is certainly here now in western Pennsylvania, though the season took a long time making up its mind this year. We ice fishermen are still waiting (most of us, at least). The woods has taken on the stillness and quiet that accompanies shorter days and long and frigid nights.     The forest takes […]

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A Fertile Fungal Forest

From April through October, mushrooms brightened my 2019. Within a few weeks of stowing the ice-fishing gear, I was cutting pheasant backs and hoping for morels. In retrospect, it’s striking that I’ve wandered around the woods of eastern North America for 35 years or so, hardly taking notice of the bracket fungi, cap-and-stems and puffballs […]

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Seasons in the Forest

At the close of the Eighteenth Century, the nation of France went through decades of violent upheaval that we generally remember as the French Revolution. The old guard was no more and altruistic fellows like Monsieur Robes Pierre grasped the reigns of power. Change was in the air and a distinctly French vein of liberty […]

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Happiness Knows no Place

I like to  visit obscure places I find on maps, places not many others go, places of wild opportunity. But sooner or later I also find myself drawn back to the adventure hubs of the east, the places where I might sip something for a while under a sun umbrella and even socialize before venturing […]

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