Michaela Merz

Collecting mushrooms

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt is August and I go jogging. The path in the woods is shadowy and thus I don’t mind the high temperatures. I run downhill and feel the sweat drops forming on my forehead and suddenly I see it. Next to the path a huge porcino. What am I going to do?, I think. But I cannot leave this showpiece. I take it, hide it in the grass and put a twig on the path so that I would find it on my way back. After 50 metres the next one. Thus my jogging tour turns into the obstacle course from mushroom to mushroom. At the end of the route I had to take off my T-shirt and congratulated myself to my sports bra. I came home with a T-shirt full of mushrooms. When my youngest one saw the mushrooms, he wanted to go to the woods right away. I changed and the two of us went. The basket filled fast. As a child I went during the holidays almost every day to the woods with my parents to collect mushrooms. I got to know the mushrooms and thus don’t collect any poisonous or inedible mushrooms. I am sure my parents liked being in the woods but at the same time their budget was tight and therefore the mushrooms were a welcome improvement to the menu. We ate them with pasta, with eggs, backed, breaded, as risotto and in the soup.

Now we amble with my little one from mushroom to mushroom, leave the poisonous, cut the stem in order to see whether worms are inside and talk about the mushrooms. The basked it almost full. In a moment of not paying attention I stumble and as we are walking downhill, I fly in free fall through the shrubs. My thoughts however are with the basket with mushrooms which I hold in my left hand. I land hard on my chest and on the right side. The hit was hard and I feel pain in the chest, the right knee and in the right arm. I remain lying to gather myself. This makes my little one panic. He runs to me crying and with panic shouts. Yes, I am bleeding. The short-sleeved T-shirt avenged itself and I am badly scratched but also my long trousers did not fully protect the knee. A huge hole and again blood. I gather all my remaining strength and supress the desire to swear and the pain and tell my little one that I am all right. Yes, I managed to set down the basked with mushrooms unharmed while falling. Only three mushrooms fell out. During the fall I paid more attention to the mushrooms than to myself. The mushrooms survived unharmed. I am badly scratched, the trousers and the screen of my mobile phone are damaged. Otherwise everything is okay. Thus the mushrooms turned into rather expensive mushrooms!! But collecting mushrooms is something magic, something archaic, something very uplifting.

When I told my story to a friend, she told me that she does not go any long to the woods with her children. Because of the ticks! I thought that this way one definitely can eliminate risks but also experiences!!

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