This here my dears, are chanterelles. By far the most coveted mushroom and Swedes are rather obsessed by this little fungus, it’s incredible delicious and hard to find. If I had to chose one thing that we, as a people, have in common it would be the dream of finding a Place.* A Place is a location in the woods where you can find hundreds of these and if you ever find one you keep it a secret. Try asking a Swede for directions to a good place to pick chanterelles and you will see one very uncomfortable person who will end up lying to your face. I’ve been looking for one of these babies for 15 years. The forests are vast and usually you walk for four hours and end up with 20 of these beauties. Guess who found a Place this weekend? Yes. I am still giddy just thinking about it. (4.3 kilos!!!)
When we drove home yesterday I had the weirdest feeling, after a while I was able to identify it. I was happy! No anxiety, no worries, no shame, no stress. I even tried to think of all the things that usually makes me spin but everything seemed very manageable. I wonder if this is how you are supposed to feel? To not always have a couple of things that makes you really anxious and unhappy on repeat in the back of your mind? I don’t know if it was just finding all that yellow deliciousness or managing to stay sober almost without trying or if it was the fact that I was able to be by myself out in the woods for hours at end. Probably a combination. I need to pay attention to these things because I feel rather lost and I don’t know what makes me happy or how to take care of myself. Maybe being all alone surrounded by thousands of trees is something I need to do more often. (And to stop feeling guilty about leaving all the kids with my husband.)
I receive e-mails from Belle from time to time and last week there was one that was just so unbelievably sad. It was from one of her sober pen pals and there were excerpts that illustrated all the ups and downs, the starting overs and the glimmers of hope and the desperation and the feelings of powerlessness. In the last paragraph there was an e-mail from the mother (of this particular pen pal) who had written Belle to tell her that her daughter had died. It just breaks my goddamn heart. Being all high functioning and not having lost anything (as of yet that is, just a matter of time for all of us, just a matter of time if we do not change) it’s easy to forget that this is really dangerous. Not just embarrassing, not just destroying your soul – people like us die from this. Women who drink wine they way we did can actually die. Please take care of yourself today. Do something nice, I mean really nice, and be thankful that there is a change coming your way. You are NOT a lost cause.
(Sorry to end this in a very Debbie Downer kindaway, it was just such a moment of clarity. We are not indestructible, we are not invincible, we can not poison our bodies any more.)
*Small proof of the importance of a Place: When I posted a picture of the lichen that was absolutely covered in chanterelles it got the most likes I have ever gotten. Way more than the picture of when my fourth baby was born. I promise I will never tell her that. (Or the co-ordinates.)