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Archive for May, 2011

This past Saturday I headed out into the woods near Strum, Wisconsin with my father-in-law Jim, there to hunt the elusive and expensive (presently about $32 a pound) morel mushroom. Meteorologically, the day was shitty: intermittent light to heavy rain, overcast, with gusting winds. Yet we pushed on. Inside his pickup truck we’d pull to the shoulders of country roads and inspect the forest floor after identifying telltale dead elms. In all, we didn’t find much. About a half to two thirds of a pound. Most of the weight coming in three big specimens.

Then today, out on an afternoon walk with Henry through suburbia, I glance across someone’s backyard and notice a morel protruding so tall and white it might have been a yard ornament. I looked around for witnesses, left Henry in his Chariot, grabbed my pocketknife and quickly poached the mushroom. A beast! Taller than a can of Coca-Cola and probably somewhere between a quarter to a third of a pound. I’ll have it tomorrow for lunch, possibly with sauteed onions or atop a pizza.

Currently reading Wells Towers’ “Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned” after finished Anthony Doerr’s “The Shell Collector.” Also just finished Thomas McGuane’s “Ninety-Two In The Shade.” So far, it has been a fantastic spring/summer of reading. I’m looking forward to more reading tomorrow, possibly some more mushroom hunting, and then a Twins baseball game on Wednesday.

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Last week, settling down in front of my laptop, trying to think of some kind of Facebook status update, I thought I know these roads like the back of my hands. But I’m becoming tired of Facebook, so I didn’t write anything at all. Then, on Friday, back in the car and driving north to Minnesota, the highway stretched out before me like a spool of black tape, I thought What a perfect expression! That’s my new favorite expression!

Because ALL I DO IS LOOK AT THE BACKS OF MY HANDS. For ten hours a week, driving, the road so familiar I could draw you a map from Arden Hills, Minnesota to Iowa City, Iowa – every little hill, farm, rest stop, river, casino, truck stop, pasture, forest, grain silo… Also, as a writer, you’re always staring at your hands. Waiting for them to move, to create something.

Today marks the last time I need to drive south for several months. We visit Iowa City in June for the big reunion, but otherwise, I wouldn’t have to come back at all until August.

In other news:

Completed William Maxwell’s “So Long, See You Tomorrow” – incredible. Presently reading Anthony Doerr’s “The Shell Collector.”

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