Outside there is a gentle spring rain, and it is so unbelievably green! The gray skies only underscore the bright quality of the new leaves. On my walks back from the bus stop at 7 a.m., I inspect various things in the yard. It’s a great way to start the day. This morning, the flowers are beginning to fall on the plum tree, the apricot is almost there as well, and the apple is just hitting peak bloom time. The quinces have not one bloom this year, and the three trees blooming may or may not fruit depending on pollination. There is so much to think about with regard to fruit trees that I’m afraid I’m just not able to apply the right amount of control and thought that they really require to be a successful food source for me. I do what I can, but no longer get too involved. I have learned in my middle age that the kind of gardener I am is one who exerts a fair amount of energy, but requires some work to be done on the plant’s part. And if they so chose not to exert their will, then so be it, I have other things to consider. Thankfully, there are people in the area who take this very seriously, and I will gladly part with my money for their toil.
I also inspect every elm tree I pass for morels, for this is the time. I try not to get caught up in it–my son asked me yesterday why I liked morels so much, and I paused and thought. Why indeed? I answered that along with them tasting good, there was something more–that the finding of them was a great puzzle and I enjoyed solving it. There is nothing so satisfying as finding a clutch of morels surrounding a tree, especially after years of fruitless obsession. I have worked very hard to find morels, and it has paid off. It’s an enjoyable mystery to get lost in for two weeks of the year. This season is interesting in that it seems that there was a jump of early morels, and now it seems any development has stalled–at least where I’m looking. I usually find them around early to mid-May, so perhaps there will be more?
One of the best side notes of morel seeking (I think a better term than hunting?) is finding the Jack in the Pulpits that inevitably dot the terrain I am looking in. When I see one rolled up ready to unfurl, I think aha! I am on the right track. I have come to really appreciate them–somewhere between the hearty swampiness of skunk cabbage and the delicate elegance of scarlet trillium. Somewhat shy, the flowers hide their beauty under an overturned flap, or perhaps it’s just an umbrella for the flies who pollinate them. Who knows? The mystery of this world is endless and that is what makes it worthwhile.