Our summer included a lovely flight in a
1929 Travelair biplane over the central Oregon coast.
As we get older, we learn a few things not readily apparent to us when we were younger. At least, hopefully we do, and hopefully these lessons make it a bit easier for us to navigate life’s travails... the inevitable times when things don’t go entirely our way and we are disappointed.
In mushrooming, these disappointments aren’t infrequent: the places we’ve come to count on through years of experience for some reason fail to produce. Sometimes, this is due to conditions: the rains weren’t timely, or there’s been a dry spell, or perhaps a cold snap came at the wrong time. Occasionally, it’s because there has been wood cutting, property development or other environmental activity.
And sometimes, it’s simply because someone else got there before we did. It’s perhaps this latter situation that bothers us the most, but it can’t be helped; other folks want to gather mushrooms, too, and we ourselves have probably done this to others more often than we’d care to admit, either consciously or not. The
Springtime brought us Verpa,
accompanied by cottonwood seeds.
Most of all, though, these disappointments arise because things change, and it’s not always to our liking. But whether we like it or not, change will come, in mushrooming and in life.
Mary and I went to a long-time favorite Asian restaurant in Portland the other day. They’ve featured a signature dish that we really loved for well over ten years (revealing what it was might also reveal the identity of the restaurant, and that isn’t our intent). Over the years, the consistent excellence of this particular dish was amazing; it was always simply wonderful. The service wasn’t always great, and other menu items were merely OK, but this one dish was the best of its kind we’d ever encountered.
The last time we visited this restaurant, we were surprised to find that it wasn’t anywhere near as good. We certainly know that any and all restaurants can have an off day; the regular cook could be off, there could be lots of reasons. But we said something about it to one of the owners as we left, not in a mean-spirited way, but because we sincerely felt that they would want to know, and our comment seemed to be received in the spirit it was offered.
So we were mindful of this earlier visit when we went there the other day, hopeful, but prepared that things might not have improved. And they hadn’t; if anything, our beloved dish was worse than before. It's a simple dish, with few ingredients, and a change in sources was highly unlikely to have been the cause; the cause was doubtless in the preparation. They just weren’t making this dish the same way, and it really showed.
As we left, I told the owner - a different one than I’d talked to before. This time, the reaction was different, too. My comments, even though courteously and sincerely offered, were clearly not taken seriously, as if I simply didn’t know what I was talking about. OK, that’s his prerogative, and they still seem to be doing a pretty decent business, but from now on, they will do so without us. This restaurant isn’t the same one we came to know and love... it’s changed. And we won’t be back.
Our travels last year took us far afield
to South Dakota, and, of course, we
The lesson here is that restaurants we love and mushrooming places we love and all kinds of other things we've learned to love in life inevitably change with the passage of time. We don’t like it, but that’s the way it is. We can bemoan this fact and let it ruin our day if we so choose, but it will happen regardless. And how we react is the lesson learned.
We must always remember to really appreciate those wonderful places that we have come to love. Enjoy them, treasure them while we have them. Some will last as long as we do, but some will not, and will fall by the wayside. It’s simply inevitable. This is frustrating; it takes time and effort to find new places to dine and new places to mushroom and all those other things, but we simply must expend it... even though we don’t particularly want to.
We get lazy, we see no reason to find new places when we already have as many as we can handle. But then we lose one, for whatever reason; we must either find a new one or two to replace it, or we must accept having less. We must find new restaurants, and new places to mushroom, and new all kinds of other things that we lose with the passage of time, just to maintain our current level, let alone advance it. And along the way, we’ll encounter new things, learning as we go, and in the end, we'll find new places that we'll come to love just as much.
That is our thought for 2016: enjoy and treasure our favorites, but summon the energy and curiosity to find new places and things to replace those we inevitably lose. Have a great year, and as always, thank you for being one of our readers!
Offshore and onshore rock formations make for a dramatic
land and seascape near our home in the hamlet of Port Orford.