Michaela Merz

Too much is too much (collecting mushrooms 2)

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI visited my mother in her house close to the German border in Bohemian Forest. At the beginning of September it was marvellous and in comparison to the cold and rainy Zurich simply wonderful. In the evening one could sit outside in the garden in T-shirt, during the day the sun was shining just as in midsummer and next to me my satisfied mother. All wishes fulfilled.

On Saturday morning I wanted to collect mushrooms in the forest. My mother warned me that there were a lot of them and that I should not bring more than half a basket full. Every now and then Czech people tend to exaggerate. Yes, of course, too many mushrooms. There are never too many mushrooms. Well-equipped I walked into the forest. My mother’s house adjoins the forest and thus after ten metres one is already in the middle of it. And it was really shocking. Mushrooms everywhere. First my heart leapt in joy and I bent down to pick up small porcinos and chanterelles. But very soon my joy turned into a mixed feeling. One could hardly make a step without stepping on a mushroom. There were all kinds of mushrooms, fly agarics, white mushrooms, beesteak fungus, jelly ear, blusher and even mushrooms I had not seen for years, and even those which I had never seen before. One could not even call it collecting mushrooms. On that day the appropriate term would have been avoiding mushrooms.

It was no fun at all. All mushrooms one wanted to find were there, large and small, healthy and without worms, and in quantities I had never seen before in my life. This abundance spoilt the fun. I thought back to my student years when on weekends I supplemented my income as sale assistant in a confectionary shop. On the first day I ate three cakes with pleasure and after the second weekend surrounded by all the tempting sweets, the cakes were no longer of interest and I ate no more cakes.

As usually with abundance, getting more does not lead to more joy and satisfaction. The perfect condition would be to have a little less than one liked, in order to keep the joy for the next time.

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