Morels are up…let the madness begin

A handful of happiness – a ripe morel. PHOTO BY MICHAEL PEARCE

My buddy Lonny must have sent me a half-dozen texts Sunday afternoon. Some had pics attached, while others did not.

For Lonny and thousands like him it was one of the best days of the year…morel mushrooms had begun appearing on his favored ‘shrooming lands.

As usual, his first finds were generally small and isolated to only a few of the many spots he’ll be patrolling regularly for a few weeks.

Oh, the place of his finds was south of Wichita, in the Arkansas River bottomlands.

Of course I could be more specific. Yes, I can drive right to the exact place. But I won’t.

Being taken to a someone’s best morel spot is somewhat of an honor, and shows you have his or her trust. It doesn’t even need to be implied that you’re to never return unless officially invited. To divulge even a general set of directions to the hallowed place would be akin to telling a complete stranger the friend’s work hours, the code to the security system at their house, and where in the home to find the guns and the heirloom diamonds and gold. Actually, it may be even worse.

People will do some things to find great-tasting morels they won’t do in other aspects of their life. We’ve had illegal ‘shroomers trespassing on our farm that would never illegally cross the fence to hunt or fish.

They’ll also stay up much into the night trying to figure out where this year’s morel motherlode could be. They’ll exhaust every rural legend they’ve ever heard about what makes ideal morel conditions, and how they can improve the ‘shrooming on their favored lands.

Me? I’m not that addicted, but walking from through the woods after Lonny’s texts with a nice gobbler over my shoulder, my eyes were locked on the ground. You just never know…,