I used to golf quite a bit. Not so much anymore. There is a book about the game called A Good Walk Spoiled by John Feinstein. While I have never read the book I can certainly relate to the concept. When I played, and I was certainly not any good, I was constantly competing. Either with friends or with myself to get better. What was supposed to be relaxation turned to frustration.
Now, I spend my walking time in the woods. Here on the property we believe we have about 40 acres of woods. They start at the edge of the farm fields and cover hills, ravines, and bottom land that leads to a creek. Regardless of the reason for my walk, I rarely come back frustrated.
Yesterday's reason was mushrooms. A couple friends met me in the morning with a cup of coffee, and we proceeded to stroll through the woods in a very random manner. At times we followed trails made by the deer we so love to hunt in the fall. Then we would roam off the path to search a patch of Mayapples that supposedly contain the elusive morel. Sometimes we were merely yards apart, and could share stories each trying to make the others laugh. At other times, we were so distant it was as if we were alone out there.
As social as I am, I very much enjoy that time. I find myself thinking about everything and nothing, all while trying to find wild mushrooms. Yesterday wasn't a great success. I found two pluteus cervinus, or deer mushrooms. I researched and found they are edible, but easily confused with a couple inedible types. I am leaning towards not eating them and living to hunt and write another day.
Often when walking, when I stop to focus around a fallen tree or another patch of mayapples, when I glance back up I notice what a beautiful surrounding I am in. I snap a few pictures like these and take a relaxing breath, knowing even without a bountiful harvest I have communed with nature and my soul is better for it.
Even though yesterday didn't result in an edible harvest, I did manage to not come home empty handed. Along a ravine on the northern end of our property, I found a few intact old bottles. Apparently this particular ravine, many on the property contain old metal trash, was used to dump old glass and ceramic. I waded through, careful to not get cut, and found a variety of bottles and jars which I am sure will decorate our house at some point.
I also grabbed an old well head, I assume from the unused well for the original farm house. I am going to use it as a chimney on the smoker I build. I really enjoy trying to reclaim old materials for use in my projects. There are bricks from the old farm silo which I intend on using for a fire pit in our backyard. Those were also discovered on a walk, unspoiled, on the east half of the southwest quarter.