From late July a magical transformation is taking place in the wild Highland woods.
Matured ground flora foliage bow in commemoration of their bright flowers long gone Bracken fronds reach for new heights. The tree canopy has increased in density, a dancing swathe of green perforated with bright white of overcast sky.
The understorey is damp; springy on high ground, boggy on low. Sheltered. Shrouded in a sense of secrecy, with gentle whispers from leaves above.
All is peaceful. Even the falling raindrops descend respectfully and delicately through the layered canopy. Clinging to leaves and branches. Sparkling like jewels. Reflecting the lush summer greens.
Our gentle, padding footsteps descend. Slow, cautious, searching. The occasional twig cracks. We know they are here. We wander with focus. Breathing in the fresh, damp air. Cleansing our souls, harmonising with the trees, rocks, moss, lichens. They are us and we are them. All is one.
Still we search. For that glimpse of gold amongst the green. Treasure spilling out of fertile earth. Its presence essential, its worth priceless. They are here. Somewhere.
We part ways. Continuing the search together, separately. The occasional “whoop” to stay located and connected. Just like the blue tits flittering through their green maze above, calling to each other. Never alone.
A glimpse caught. Heart quickens in anticipation. Excitement. Faster gait, closer look, treasure found.
Chanterelles! Reaching down to touch smooth skin. Delicate grasp and gentle pull. Satisfaction as it gives. The first one excitedly placed into basket. Hand returns for those remaining. A moment taken to enjoy delicious apricot scent and admire beautiful details in the gold.
The search continues. Increasing awareness of preferred conditions rewards with their humble presence. Sometimes an individual, other times a group. Sometimes small, other times huge. Always the excitement of discovering treasure.
There is “enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed”. We take some and leave others.
Enjoying the search in beautiful surroundings, it’s hard to pull ourselves away. The thought of freshly cooked mushrooms provides a helpful nudge! Time to head for home…