By Tom Nauman
The emails both arrived on the same day. The first was strange enough, "The mushrooms have been talking to me in my dreams for the past month! " But the second one almost had an eerie feel to it, "I've been having the dreams for a month now". (Insert Twilight Zone music). The unknowing might have had some chills run down their spine. But I knew exactly what they were talking about because I've also have had "The Dreams".
Some mushroom hunters are obsessed (maybe it's posessed) enough that they even dream of them. One particular dream happened in Mid-April of '90 or '91. It was a Saturday morning around nine o'clock. I was sleeping in after watching the late show on Friday night. I'd been out looking for mushrooms earlier in the week but hadn't found any. One minute the aroma of the coffee in the kitchen drifting to the bedroom was telling me I should get up. The next minute I was standing in a little area across the road from the house, crouched over, leaning on my hiking stick, and looking for mushrooms.
POP-POP was the sound I heard next. And in the dream the sounds were accompanied by two grey morels bursting out of the ground. The sounds were loud enough that I sat straight up in bed. I immediately got up, got dressed, and headed across the road.
As I passed the doorway to the kitchen, Vicky asked me where I was going. I'm glad she asked because otherwise no one would believe me. I responded that two mushrooms had just come up across the road and that the sound of them popping out of the ground had startled me awake and that I was going to get them. Her response was one of "Yeah, Right". She'd seen me do strange things before but knew I was harmless so she resumed her appointment with coffee and the morning paper while I headed out the door.
Once across the road, I went to the exact spot in the dream and, yes, they were there. Two grey morel mushrooms about an inch and a half tall each. It didn't really surprise me. I'd have been surprised if they hadn't been there because the dream was that convincing.
I looked around a little more and found nothing (I figured these two were a gift from the mushroom Gods so I shouldn't be too greedy). I harvested the two and returned to the house. I entered the kitchen and placed the mushrooms on the newspaper that Vicky hadn't even looked up from. I don't remember her exact words but I probably couldn't repeat them in print anyway. Her response was justified. We usually have an informal competition to find the first shroom of the season and I had just won for this season because of a dream.
I don't have explanation of how. But, it wasn't just a coincidence. Nothing similar has happened since. I do know that on that morning something special had happened. I had received a vision. From whom and for what reason are the questions I've yet to answer. And when someone mentions "The Dreams", I pay close attention.
The first local repots of morels in 1999: Darrell from near Galesburg reported finding one tiny black morel on April 3,. Danny Hauger and Bob Newhalfen both of Magnolia found the first little grey morels on April 8.
Illinois State Morel Mushroom Hunting Championship and Spongy Fungi Festival, May 1, Magnolia, IL, 306-364-3319.
Elba, MN Mushroom Festival, May 8 & 9. I'll post any other information to our website as I get it.
National Morel Mushroom Festival, May 15 & 16, Boyne City, MI, 616-582-6222
The Muscoda, WI Mushroom Festival is cancelled for this year.
The Salmon Arm. BC Festival in cancelled
Remember, whenever you want to try eating a mushroom you're not familiar with, check it in at least two field guides. If they say it's edible, try just a nibble, wait 24 hours, and if there are no ill effects then consume larger amounts.
Please feel free to contact us with questions or comments. Especially if you have ideas or suggestions for future columns: Tom and Vicky Nauman, Morel Mania, RR1 - Box 42, Magnolia, IL 61336, Phone 309-364-3319, Fax 309-364-2960.