There is so much to be thankful for (and you might be thankful I’m keeping this one brief…)
I had an enjoyable evening earlier this week, foraging for chanterelles with a group of young people learning from an elder about traditional harvesting. Once one mushroom had been found, they all seemed pretty handy at knowing where to look, and there was no stopping them. Excited shouts cut through the trees, signalling each discovery. This was going to be easy…
On an overcast and muggy evening, the light was fading fast in the dusk, and mosquitos were beginning to find me with rather more success than I was having finding chanterelles. They are distinctive, but this OldPlaidCamper was not very adept at unearthing chanterelles, and almost every other type of mushroom I found was a poisonous variety.
A trait being taught was persistence, so I stuck with it, hoping old eyes might fall upon elusive prey. After nearly 45 minutes of hot and humid searching, I did find two lovely chanterelles. Excellent – my status as an almost outdoorsman remained intact! As I was about to call it in, a young man I’d been guiding through the dense forest slipped on the mossy log he was climbing over and landed on his butt right next to my find. “Found some!” he cried, clambering to his feet with a wide smile.
The forest was becoming very dark, and time was called on the search. Light from the channel shone through the trees and up the slope, so we (I) tripped down the hill towards the water and out onto the shore, escaping the worst of the biting insects.
The chanterelles were to be shared with the community, and you could see how happy the foragers were at making their contribution. As we made our way back along the shore, it became clear that every member of the party had found some chanterelles – well, almost everyone. I did get a couple of consolation pats on the back, and some words about maybe next time.
So much to be thankful for, and I’m particularly thankful for the fine young people I’m working and learning with. Times are troubled in the wider world, but there are reasons to be hopeful about better times ahead, especially when you see young people expressing enthusiasm for their natural surroundings.
Thanks for reading, and have a wonderful weekend. If you are celebrating Canadian thanksgiving, I hope it’s a good one!
13 thoughts on “Thanksgiving!”
There are few things as rewarding as being a teacher, mentor, guide… whatever the role is being called on a particular day. And the great thing is that it seems that you got just as much out of it as the young ‘uns did. Happy Thanksgiving, Plaid!
Thanks, Bob! Pinning my hopes on the next set of leaders in waiting – I figure they’ll do better than many of the current crop of so-called leaders…
Hope your week is off to a good start.
I’ll echo Bob’s comment (above) by saying that the teacher/student experience such as yours, Plaid, rarely gets better than this– a small group in a forest setting with a spirit-guide of chanterelles to set the pace. Rewarding. Happy Thanksgiving, indeed.
Thanks, Walt! You know how rewarding it is to be working and learning with students, and if the classroom is an outdoor setting, then that’s even better.
Hope your trip to Maine has been a good one!
Thanks for sharing the beautiful photos and the wonderful story of your traditional harvesting adventure. I smiled picturing the excitement of all the youngsters having something to share with the community and the terrific skills and guidance of an outdoorsman at times tripping and swatting his way through the adventure. Happy Thanksgiving!
Thank you! They are a great group of students, and being out in the forest is where they seem happiest to be learning – and in truth, they are the teachers there to an old bumbling stumbler like me!
I hope your week is off to a good start!
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Beautiful photos … happy thanksgiving to you, as well!
I agree, it’s great when you see young people so invested in nature. I have an uncle in Italy who’s an expert mushroom forager. Lovely post PC.
Thanks, Miriam! Yes, young people involved and excited about the natural world is a welcome sight. Your Italian uncle could have helped me that evening!
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He sure could have! I have many memories of picking mushrooms in the mountains with him when I was younger.
Enjoyed this happy frolic in the forest, pc, and how fortunate for your students to have this invigorating experience. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, both you and Mrs. PC.
Thanks, Jet! Our Thanksgiving weekend was split between a quick camping trip and some quiet time at home trying to dry a very wet tent (and dog!)
We hope your week is going well.
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