Right about this time of year, most people are starting to think about what to do for the approaching Thanksgiving celebration, and the ominous threat of Christmas in the near future, Halloween already long forgotten. While I’m certainly on that same track as well, there are definitely other important seasonal events to think of, such as the arrival of fresh truffles. No, it’s not a holiday or even a particular day, if you must be so picky, but the notion and excitement over these dirty fungus is rather hard to ignore, frequently popping up in the news, and I can’t help but wish there was a way I could partake in this autumnal joy. Truth be told, I’ve never actually tasted a truffle before – Not even truffle oil – But some day when my funds come together, (Ha) I can still plan and hope to put them on my menu eventually.
With this thought in mind, I ventured out on a walk one brisk morning, taking in the landscape and fresh fall air. Looking down to navigate safely across the cracked and perilous sidewalk, a peculiar display caught my eye. Just off the beaten path, a perfect little mushroom sat perched atop a rock, as if waiting for someone to come and snatch it up. So incredibly clean you would think it had never even seen the soil below it, I had a hard time believing what I was seeing.
It was certainly no truffle, mind you, but I was fairly confident this was a benign little button mushroom I had on my hands. Ordinarily I would never venture to pick something so potentially deadly as a random, unidentified fungus, but thinking of truffles and how treasure really could just spring forth in the guise of a humble fungus, I quickly came to the conclusion that I wanted this morsel of earthy goodness. Reaching out my hand to snatch it from its perch… The rock itself lurched suddenly away from my grasp! Shocked flat off my feet, I stumbled one pace before falling to the ground, coming face to face with the supposed stone…
Clearly, I had made a severe mistake in my assertion that this was just another bit of fossilized cement, but really, who would have guessed that it was actually a hedgehog? With such great identification skills, it’s probably a good thing I didn’t get to sample that seemingly innocuous mushroom- Who knows what poisons it might have truly held!
Backing up to give the startled creature space, I made my slow, embarrassed retreat as gently as possible so as not become even more frightening. Perhaps it was no truffle that the hedgehog held, but I’m sure that measly mushroom was easily as valuable in his eyes. I just hope that no one else happens upon his prize like… And that no one else is stupid enough to think that picking wild mushrooms wily-nilly is a good idea!