My Perfect Storm
My Perfect Storm with a side of Mushrooms
I used to love to fish, it didn't matter what kind of fish.
I don't like to eat fish, I loved to fish for fish, to hunt for fish
So much I'd bake my brains in the hot sun baked, for a possibility I'd catch a fish
Then I discovered Morel Muchrooms grew wild in a forest very near my house.
Bringing Along the Baby Bull
I conscripted my 4 year old nephew to join in on the hunt.
He was a precocious child, happy...
A very loud kid, loudest child I ever met.
Not the type of kid to take fishing but perfect for mushroom hunting.
Ah, but Morels have no ears and can't run away
We dressed up in our finest forest attire.
Long sleeve shirts, long pants, waterproof mud-stompering boots.
Grabbed two mushroom hunting bags and we're off to Walnut woods.
What to look for on the Forest Floor
Morel mushrooms are super easy for children to identify.
Conical brown, black, wrinkled little alien brains.
Just missing little evil alien eyeballs.
We arrive at the forest.
It had rained all night, but this morning was clear and sun shone bright.
Dropletts of water covered everythinhg and the entrance to the forest glistened magically.
And we are in search of 15 mushrooms. That's the quota.
Plowing Through the Underbrush
I followed the beaten path while D serpentined through the thick foliage covering every inch as he stampeded up over around and through 50 yards to the right of me, and 50 yards to the left, while keeping pace with me as I walked the trail.
In no time I heard
"Found one Aunt Pat!"
"Yea," I replied. "Put it in the bag!"
I continued walking the easy path, looking 2 to 3 feet to the left and right in the hopes I'd find a few easy pickinds.
Found another one Aunt Pat!
Now I'm feeling smug about myself for having the wisdom of bring this little whirlwind to the hunt.
It shouldn't take "us" long to collect all 15 mushrooms.
I felt a little sorry for the flies, gnats, mosquitoes, mice, rats, snails, snakes...in his wake
yea, Devin! I cried
Enter The Tree
Then I saw the tree.
It was a small tree, a sapling 12 to 15 ft tall
Its boughs bent over the path, formed a canopy heavy with rain
I had a thought
"Devin, come here I want to show you something," I called
And while he crashed through the underbrush toward me I started calculating the trajectory for where he should stand under the branches. I made a mental X where he should be in order to appreciate the full impact of the physics lesson he was about to receive.
With a bounce, hip and hop he landed right on the X
Looked up at me with big, brown trusting eyes. "What do you wand me to see, Aunt Pat?" he asked.
"This," I said as I raised my fist...and Boom, I struck the tree trunk hard took a giant step back.
Crisis in the Making
The tree flushed water onto the boy, he was shocked.
I was shocked.
I had no idea such a small tree could hold so much water, it wasn't that big!
But an incredible amount of water - a bushel of water crashed onto the boy.
And now I'm Thinking, what have I done?
We're only 10 minutes into the hunt and now I've got a completely wet kid, only 2 mushrooms so far and 13 unlucky mushrooms to go...now we have to go home
but none of this comes out because I am laughing too hard to breathe
He just stood there like a stunned sponge, eyes wide, with a bubble of emotion percolating on the top of his head, no telling where it would go.
Grandma got her 15 mushrooms. She was happy.
Devin and I bonded like nobody's business.
I got to act like a 5 year old, which was pretty great.
I suggest as Toastmasters, should you ever have the opportunity of a duh moment that sets off a perfect storm, ride it out all the way to the end
It could end serendipitously or become a total disaster
Either way you'll learn what works and what never to do again.
And learn a lot about yourself in the process.