Today’s walk took me by a tree that I have passed hundreds of times before. It is a large tree whose center is hollow resulting from years and years of decay. The onset of such decay was probably, due in part, to a lightning strike.
Every time I pass, the dogs always take the extra few steps detour to look into the deep cavity. I have no idea why. I do not bother. The last time I looked into a hollow tree, several years ago, I was greeted with the steely stare from a coiled snake. Hollowed-out trees rarely pique my interest.
On my return, I decided, this time, to take a careful peek. The inside of this huge tree was well rotted for feet both up and down from my eye level. I had to lean my head inside to gaze at the bottom of this expansive recess. Thankfully, there was no snake. As I made my turn to get back on my well-worn trail, I saw a lovely, solitary morel growing at my feet. What an unexpected pleasure! I quickly phoned my daughter. Becky is the morel hunter and morel eater in our family. To my surprise, she answered my call. I asked if she wanted me to pick the morel for her. Since it was the only one, she told me just to let it grow.
I took two short steps before I thought I would get a photo of that morel. It looked so earthy and pristine growing in the leaf mold under the massive, decaying oak.
In the few short seconds it took me to turn back, Buddy had nipped the top of the morel from its base. The freshly-severed honeycomb-like top lay on the ground next to the still erect smooth white pedestal.
I did not actually see Buddy bite the morel, but he was the only other warm body, besides me, at the scene and I know that I did not touch that mushroom. Buddy would not confess.
Well…so much for ‘letting it grow’.