Facing East, and Heading West

Throughout early May of this year I had a lot of success finding morels under tuliptrees. I’d been especially lucky finding morels under tuliptrees on southeastern facing slopes.

That all came to an end recently. As I stepped from my car, heat enveloped me. It was pushing 80, hotter than I’d expected. This, I thought, cannot be good.

Yet, in I went, slowly climbing uphill until the trail turned and the tulip poplars appeared. Where last week the ground beneath them was getting lush and green, today, the new undergrowth had pared itself back. No morels were to be found.

I pushed on, stopped for a brief look under one tuliptree that had spawned a singular morel two weeks prior. I crossed the creek, then made my way toward the cemetery. Years ago, I’d stood on the path in, waiting for hikers to go by so I could pick all the morels they’d passed. And, for the previous two weekends, we’d picked a few morels in the cemetery proper and at the outskirts. Yet the cemetery where one week prior we’d found a dozen of varying sizes was equally barren.

Except for one. There, on my way back out, was a solitary morel, bent in half and parallel to the ground.

The rest of the day yielded nothing but birders and bugs and salty sweat. Given the heat, the season here in New York was likely done. It’s time to push north: toward the Catskills or Adirondacks for my New York friends. Home, toward Michigan for me.


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