Fall foraging in the forest

Day's Harvest
One hour’s harvest of red pine mushrooms, also called saffron milk cap.

 

One hour’s harvest of red pine mushrooms, also called saffron milk cap.

Mushrooms and Chestnuts, or Champignons et Châtaignes
Last week we donned our “wet forest” walking clothes and drove up into the hills behind town, in search of the edibles our forests could offer that day. It had rained two days before, and rain brings thoughts of the mushrooms that will appear shortly afterward.

Our first parking spot was in an area of scrub oak and some tall pine trees. It was the pines that captured our attention, because they mark the place to search for the vivid orange Lactaire Délicieux, also known as red pine mushroom or saffron milk cap.

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With a cherry on top

Seeing red (and pink)
I once knew a beautiful woman, tall, with dark hair and sparkling dark brown eyes. She dressed to own the room, and she knew what she was doing. She once told me that she only wore red twice a year: on Christmas and on Valentine’s Day. Many years later, I’m still puzzled by such a rigid dress code outside the military, but I once saw her in red, and she absolutely owned the room that day.

Well, sartorial rules aside, we find ourselves between my friend’s two official “red” holidays (plus a third that she didn’t mention), and in honor of that, I’m posting a selection of red and pink, flowers and hearts, plus a few pithy quotations, all in the name of love and romance.

 

Citou Rose
An outrageously luscious rose in the tiny village of Citou, France.

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White Christmas

White Sunset
In “White Sunset,” a snowy hillside and a cloudy sky are brushed with the same heavenly palette of pinks and golds on a late-winter evening.

Blanche
Once upon a time, I knew a man who drove a very old, very white station wagon, dating from the early 1960s. He had named the car “Blanche,” and that has long topped my list of clever car names. I’ve always assumed the car was named for Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire, but maybe it was simply a way to acknowledge that the car was white. Either way, I find it clever.

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The Season of Lights

It is the season of reverence for light and lights, not to mention something called the light. For inspiration on this dark December eve, I’m sitting by a roaring hot fire, throwing plenty of light and warmth to guide me. The days are dark: I awake in the dark, and barely get the day’s tasks done before dark once again settles upon the land.

It is no wonder that from dark days are born celebrations of light. Hanukkah has begun for Jews around the world, an eight-day Festival of Lights celebrating the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. Using the menorah, one candle is lit for each day of the holiday. Kwanzaa, a multi-day celebration for people of African descent, involves lighting the candles of the kinara.

The light of the Star of Bethlehem led the magi to the manger and the infant Jesus. In Santa Fe, New Mexico, there is a Spanish Catholic tradition of lighting farolitos, simple lanterns made with paper bags and candles, which line the walls and roofs of houses in the region.

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