Thursday, June 13, 2013

The last Morel

Its been quite a while since I've used these pages to loudly lament the apparent diminishment of the local fungal flora (a misnomer I admit as fungi have their own kingdom, they are not flora). Early to mid May is the morel season here and the last few years the findings have been meagre. This year I didn't plan on ANYTHING; in fact,we went to the Swiss alps for a vacation right when I'd ordinarily be combing the woods here.In Zermatt and Murren, morels were found on the menu but not in the forest (too high--they grow, allegedly, in the lower elevation Jura mountains) The chef in one restaurant assured me that I'd be wasting my time looking anywhere around there. I have found that European mushroom hunters are more secretive than their American counterparts when it come to sharing mycological tips.
    A few days after our return, even though it should have been "too late" I drove down to one of my hot spots and took a stroll through the fresh Green woods, barely looking. I was also staying on the path because I've  become  paranoid about Lyme Disease
   Within five minutes I stumbled upon four morels, each one fatter than the other. Not a big find but a tasty one.I surmised that had I been looking with more purpose and zeal, I probably wouldn't have found any.A certain indifference to the quarry often pays off, but don't think about it too much.
   The main lesson I've learned over many years of mushroom forging is "Don't look too hard." If the hunting mode of mental activity is too engaged, you miss a lot. If you let the quest take a less than dominant position in your consciousness, you just might find something.
That's the way it is sometimes with composing. You are looking for just the right note, or chord or gesture or timbre, and you wear yourself thin desperately trying everything.You  have to let yourself relax and fall into a state of a supreme indifference (this is easier said than done!)  and sometimes the right thing presents itself and you are there to catch it, but you wont if you're trying too hard.
     How did Jan Pieterzoon Sweelinck's "Mein junges Leben......." sneak into my latest piece? I don't know--iust presented itself; I wasn't looking for it.

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