Say hello to my little friend(s)

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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.)

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10 thoughts on “Say hello to my little friend(s)

  1. Awesome! I can’t remember the word in Swedish for out looking for mushrooms. My host family loved to do it and had their place. I was too young and stupid to appreciate it. I appreciate it now. I used to take long walks in the skogan and listen to my walkman and sing at the top of my lungs. I can totally appreciate this post and it took me back to happy times. Don’t get me wrong- living in Sweden had it’s challenges for me but whenever I was alone in the woods I felt like I had a purpose for being there. I was 17 but I had a sense of self out there in the beautiful forest and I was never afraid or lost. Thank you for reminding me. And I’ve seen that email from Belle a few times. It made me start a sober day count in May. And then when I had this last fall- there it was again. It’s like she knows. Ha en bra dag!

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    • The only one that comes to mind is “plocka svamp”, was that what you were thinking of? Did you live up North when you were here? And if you went out and walked and sang and enjoyed yourself – then you DID appreciate it! What 17 year old could or would appreciate it in any other way?
      Do you have access to some stor, gammal skog where you live now?
      And that e-mail. Still heartbroken by it. And now yet another blog that I used to follow has been deleted. That awful quietness and then they just vanish. So SAD.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I think so- it had svamp in it. I was in Halsingland in a tiny village. It took over an hour to get to school on the bus. And I meant I didn’t appreciate the mushrooms. I wasn’t much of a mushroom eater then. Nor lutefisk nor blood pudding. And I would put the yogurt on my potatoes at school and gross everyone out- they put it on their cereal. And no I don’t really have a stor gammal skog – I am scared to venture out too far because of the weirdo confederate flag waving rednecks I might meet in the woods here. But, maybe I should start looking for some hiking trails now that the weather is cooling off even if they are crowded. Yeah, I don’t like it either when they disappear.

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  2. Never Debbie Downer, it’s just what I needed to hear. I can’t keep kidding myself that I can moderate, it is like playing with fire.
    I have now got a need for mushrooms on toast (sure there must be a classier version bruscetta fungi? Whatevs. ) I’m off to forage (in the supermarket) and maybe use thyme from garden (seems to be the plant version of cockroaches – it can survive even my ministrations/ nuclear holocaust)

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