Foraging mushrooms in the Kreuzlinger forest
Mid August was heaven for mushroom friends. It was humid and warm and and mushrooms were sprouting from the forest ground like weeds. It was pouring rain every now and then, but again and again the sun would break through for half a day and heat up the land. The forest was moist and steamy. In one spot where a beam of sun had broken through the branches all the way to the mossy forest floor tepid steam was rising from that small sunlit triangle.
My great-grandmother would say that the Nebelfrauen, the fog ladies, are dancing whenever the white veils magically formed in mid air.
The true reason for foraging mushrooms is to be among them. When I go for mushrooms, the first few minutes after I slipped off the path my vision closes in. At first everything is blurry. I’m a little lost and disoriented, wondering why I’m here. I’m walking without aim among the tree stumps and over moss. It doesn’t take long until my eyes focus again – differently though. A world of wondrous details opens up in front of me. Full of pattern and colours – muted to the normal eye, but ever so vibrant in their context.
The Kreuzlinger Forst is never quiet, especially not this time. The church bells from the surrounding towns resonate among the trees, a family is foraging somewhere close by, cars are zipping by on the Waldstraße. Yet the sounds are muted, not only by the gentle shielding of the trees, but also by my mind set. My ears hear them, but my mind choses to only faintly let them in.
In Bavaria we call foraging „going into the mushrooms“ – in die Schwammerl gehn. Maybe what we mean by this is that zoning out / zoning in?
In the end my pickings were modest in number: a few Steinpilze (porcini) and a handful of small Maroni. I invited myself over to a friend’s, I provided the Schwammerln she the risotto and wine. We sat on the city balcony and quietly chatted the night away.