The Best Reason To Love May

May 15, 2018

Of course you know the dozen reasons why May is the sweetest month.

But put aside for now May’s eye candy—the orioles and buntings and tulips. And May’s nosegays—hyacinths and lilacs and lilies of the valley. You must put aside even crappie fishing, for now, to focus on May’s rarest gift: morel mushrooms.

You’ve waited 50 weeks for their arrival. But now, somewhere on the edge of a forest, it’s beginning; morels are pushing themselves through the duff. You’d rather hunt for mushrooms than anything else, admit it.

You’ve hunted the May woods all morning and searched the secret places. You’ve braved the brambles and brushed off the ticks and strained your eyes. You’re dehydrated and maybe delirious. Even that chunk of corn cob or walnut shell morphs into a morel.

At last you hunker down to observe a spray of small gray beauties basking in the elm shade. Now your philosophical sense kicks in. Yes, there are mushroom ethics every hunter knows. Do you pick these finger-sized morsels before they’ve reached their full glory? Or do you let them grow and risk the less-refined moral sense of some other rummy?

You walk away. The woods are full of mushrooms. And you know their secret. Now, will you share it?

At home, your chardonnay chills, your crappie filets curl, your asparagus sweats and your morels -- washed only by rain -- have met the butter and the salt. You smell nut and moss and must and lichen. All your waiting has come to this.

I’m Chris Fink, and that’s my perspective.