Mushroom magic

Sometimes, when everything seems to be turning to shit, the best thing you can do is go out into the woods. They listen to your woes, giving no judgement or harsh words in return. You don’t have to worry that the trees will think you’re weird. You can chatter to the brook as it burbles at you and you don’t even need words. You enter with a mind full of worries and stress and sadness and leave feeling…still.
  

Stillness is something that is hugely underrated in today’s world. We are so busy running hither and yon that we don’t have time for stillness. “Time should be filled with productivity” is what is drilled into us. “If we are not doing something then we are wasting time”. And when you’re self-employed that pressure is all the greater. I’ve never been busier than I have been this year. Farmers markets, stalls, cake orders, baking gluten free cakes for sale, making preserves, sorting out Christmas hampers and trying to figure out how to sell them through my website, it’s not stopped. I’ve got a lot done! But I’ve also had practically no time to spend with my family and friends or just being…me.

    
So today I decided to just stop. I had someone to look after little Mouse for me so I went to one of my favourite woodlands. Partly to look for fungi but mostly because it’s a wonderful, loving old wood and I needed to be surrounded by trees. 2 hours of walking later, i’d found 3 horns of plenty.

   
 
  

A cluster of hedgehog fungi that had seen better days 

  

and a single winter chanterelle.

  

But I was already feeling much better.The fog of rage and fragility was lifting from my mind with every step I took through the deep leaf litter and every little fungus I picked.

Then I found a hedgehog fungus, then another, then struck the winter chanterelle mother load.

  

They were unbelievably well camouflaged and an hour and a bit of crawling on my hands and knees, peering through beech saplings yielded a happy basketful for me to take home. 

  

Enough to keep me going until next year! I’m home now. Lying on the couch watching Mouse as she tries to feed her toys and our cat imaginary food and every so often, she stops doing what she’s doing to just have a little dance. I think I could get used to doing nothing…at least for a little while! 

Muhaimina Said-Allsopp