photo by E.Z.

Something caught my eye.  A young woman and her child stood on my front lawn close to the road.  She seemed like she was coaxing the child to go along with her. A few minutes later I noticed they were still there and understood. The leaves on my tree are red and beautiful, at their peak. There are few trees that change to red in the fall where I live… mostly yellows, golds, and browns. She was taking her child’s picture among the gorgeous leaves. I peeked at her smoothing his hair, his hat, his little jacket. He kept running to her as she tried to get the perfect shot. I watched for a bit through my blinds at these sweet moments feeling like a voyeur. When I looked again, they were gone.  

What the Shiitake!

If you’re a mushroom junkie, that’s not original. Nor is “you’re a funghi.”  (Get it, fun guy…)  But these totally tickled my funny bone again and again.

photo by E. Zahn

Friends and I discovered by complete accident that Kennett Square, PA is the mushroom capital of the world AND supplies the United States with 65% of its mushrooms. We got mushroom fever and bought pounds and pounds to take home.  Hen of the Woods, Royal Trumpet, Lion’s Mane. 

So, do people living there eat more mushrooms than elsewhere? Love them?  Hate them? Are they healthier? Are they on mushroom diets that deserve studying? Or is it like many things, when something’s in your backyard, you drive by and hardly notice. Could that even possibly be true for Napa and Sonoma.  Cheers!

Rock Scrambling

I scrambled over enormous rocks, some the size of cars and buses, left by the receding Wisconsin glacier 12,000 years ago. The trail map said the route we were on was “steep and treacherous,” which encouraged us to keep going to see just how steep and just how treacherous. The woods were quieter than anyplace I’d ever been, yet in my dreams the rocks are calling me to return.

Eye of the Beholder

photo by EZ

On my way into the grocery store I admired the unusual pumpkins displayed outside… orange with warts, a muddy aqua and soft yellow.  I wanted to buy one of each, but since I’d already bought plenty of orange pumpkins, I couldn’t justify buying these beauties too.

On my way out of the store, a mother, and her daughter, about 8 years old, approached the pumpkins. Mom said curtly, “Look at those ugly pumpkins.” Her daughter looked at the pumpkins and kept looking at them as she walked by. She didn’t answer her mother who now raised her voice, “Those pumpkins are really ugly.” Her daughter didn’t say a word. Maybe she thought they were beauties too.

Black Widow

A friend recently faced a choice which to me would have been an over-the-top frightening choice.

If you found  – and know for sure – that the spider you found in your garage was a Black Widow, would you capture it and release it outside away from your home or would you kill it? 

I wouldn’t have made the same choice my friend made. But in both cases I would’ve needed help executing the plan since I’d have been too afraid to do either. And you?

(By the way, I have no idea what a Black Widow looks like but I imagine it’s big and scary.)

Electric Man

I love encounters like this one…

I heard someone digging and grunting and cursing. I went around the side of the house to see. Across the street, a man in a hardhat and fluorescent vest was digging with gusto around the bottom of the telephone pole. He finished and moved on to another pole. Another guy came along walking half in the road.

We saw each other.

“Be careful on this road,” I said and waved.

“I learned that the first day here, Ma’am.”

Did he just call me Ma’am?  You don’t hear that in the Northeast. 

“It’s a fast road,” I said.

“I’m here from Texas working on your poles.”

“Wow.  I guess we need help.”

“Some beautiful homes here.”

“It’s a nice area. Good Luck,” I said.

“Ma’am,” and he touched his hard hat.

Keep On Truckin’

photo by E.Z.

“Will I hit a lot of traffic on my way outa here?” the man seated in the booth next to me asked.  He was in his 60s, wore jeans, a yellow and blue plaid shirt, suspenders and a baseball that read Edison, NJ.  It was 9 am on a Friday morning in Montauk, NY (the End of the south fork of Long Island) and we were having breakfast at a local pancake house.

“I don’t know. It’s my first time… Your first time here?” I asked.

“Yeah. Arrived at 3:30 this morning. Dropped off a load of shrubs at the nursery.”

His truck was a sleeper and he’d taken a snooze in the parking lot where he’d delivered his load.  He had a refrigerator and a TV too.

We talked about Tennessee, New England, New Jersey.

You want to hear some juicy stuff. Plunk yourself down next to a trucker. And listen.

“You on Facebook?” he asked. I nodded.

“You gotta check out this lady…Moonpie Starbox.  She does something new every day,” he handed me his phone. I was worried what he might be showing me.

I checked it out. It was a talking Dachshund. Not really my thing but I promised to check it out later.

He left the restaurant. I left a few minutes later just in time to see him driving west, out of town. I waved from the sidewalk. He waved back.

I wanted to share the really juicy stuff with you, but decided to save it for another time.

Go Forward!

It was a new hike for me, but on a well-worn path. As the trail dipped, the temperature dropped. I wondered whether water flowed nearby or the coolness was because the sun barely reached this place. I couldn’t see ahead but I felt around the corner there’d be something sinister or saintly: a vision, an omen, something gory, something memorable, an encounter. I gripped the straps of my knapsack and walked ahead.

photo by E.Z.