If you’re reading Mary Oliver’s Twelve Moons as a lunar calendar with me this year, it’s time for another one of the poem’s not associated with a specific moon phase. I chose to schedule this one for the autumnal equinox: Looking for Mushrooms.
You may have noticed how frequently poems have been scheduled lately. Without consulting my schedule, I think this is just about the end of the extras. She seemed to have a lot more to write about during the summer. Before long we’ll be back to one poem for each moon phase, with a few gaps even.
If you’re familiar with our lifestyle, you know that mushroom hunting is a pretty big thing for us, a yearly activity that begins in late summer and carries through autumn to the first snows. I especially like that this poem refers to the bolete, my favorite fungi.
This has not been a particularly good mushroom year for us. We think that last winter’s long freezes with no snow cover might have affected the mycilia. Throughout the early autumn we saw a few edible mushrooms, but mostly false chanterelles, an inedible variety that we had not seen much of until last autumn, but seems to be everywhere this year. On top of that, we’ve been away getting Aly to college for almost three weeks, so if the mushrooms have come on stronger recently, we’ve not been around to take advantage of them. The boletes started appearing just days before we left, so we’ve likely missed the peak of their season this year.
We’ll see how things stand when we get back. With luck, we’ll have another few weeks, at least, to harvest forest delicacies.
Incidentally, while today is this year’s autumnal equinox, when the hours of daylight and darkness balance out, ours will not actually happen until September 25th. So for two days, the balance remains in daylight’s favor in Southeast Alaska. We’ll more than make up for that afterward, when darkness takes hold for its season.