Story and Illustration by Jenny Lee Fowler
This past year, the chanterelles were unstoppable. Every day, I walked into the woods behind our house and plucked another basketful, and every day I marveled at the taste of our forest. I haven’t inherited many objects from my family, but in this gleaning, I feel close to the ones who came before me.
I was talking once with an older friend about my grandpa’s foraging habits. Grandpa fished avidly and smoked salmon in a little shack he built behind his house, gathered huckleberries that he stewed into sauce for ice cream, dug clams, hunted deer and elk and gathered mushrooms to sauté. For years after his death, family members hoarded the last jars he had given them, breaking them out ceremoniously for reunions and holidays. My friend remarked how the kind of knowledge he had must have been born from deep need. I’d never thought of it from that angle before, but it fits with what I understood about the family.
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