Mycologia: A Mushroom Hunters Testament

by David A. Martin

I was raised on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State, a temperate rain coast which provided a rich experience of exploration and discovery. My earliest memories are hardwired with towering and benevolent Western Red Cedars, rich Edenic gardens of mossy nurse logs, shimmering alder groves and verdant glens of tall ferns. It was a warm,fertile and moist environment, ideal for my growth and blossoming. It was also the ideal environment for mushrooms.

I was raised in a mushroom hunting family. At varying points in the cycle of seasons my family would take knives and recycled bread bags and head out into the moist and fertile forests to hunt mushrooms. These forays often found my whole family hiking and then spreading out to comb the woods.

Humans are good at this hunting and gathering, we have the ability to scan a scene with a particular form in mind. Our brains can scan the environment and process the information quickly and recognize the particular pattern of attributes we are searching for . . . if those patterns are present.

Mushrooms have a general season in which they will fruit, but they are particular about if and when. Something I have learned through mushroom hunting as well as growing mushrooms myself is that they fruit when the conditions are right. If the moisture levels are right, and the temperature is within a certain range, and the lighting is just right they will fruit. Without fail. However, if even one of these elements is off, they will not fruit, no matter what time of year it is. This was evident when my family would return to a spot where we found many mushrooms the previous season to find that there were none this year, the conditions having changed slightly.

I have taken this bit of mycological wisdom and often applied it to my life. I have often repeated to myself the mantra of “When the conditions are right, it will fruit.” It is simillar to the saying of “If you build it, they will come” from the movie Field of Dreams. Often when we desire change in our lives, we can liken it to the fruition of an intention. We must allow the fruiting to occur by creating conditions which are right for it to blossom. Often all it takes is acts of allowance, removing obstacles to the intended results manifestation.

And so, mushrooms and their process have been great teachers to me throughout my life. Their testament to the way of nature, the science of life, the Tao if you will have enriched my life. Sometimes with a peace of mind at times in knowing that when conditions are right things will fruit, and other times their wisdom has influenced me to shift parts of my life that are in my control, to, in otherwords, create conditions more condusive to the fruition of that which I intend to see blossom in my life.


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