The foragers

“What’s that?”

Lila pointed at the sandy ground, where, among dried oak leaves and thorny vines, a pocketed grey sponge sat unappetizingly.

Her mother came over and peered at the growth. She leaned over further, bending her knees to get a closer look. The breeze off of Huron Lake blew a cloud of dancing gnats around Lila’s head. She swatted at them and waited for her mother’s assessment. From the smile that was stretching across her face, it looked to be a favorable one.

“What’s this? What’s this? You found a morel, sweetie! In the most unlikely place!” Lila’s mother took a knife from her pocket and cut the mushroom’s stem. It was the size of Lila’s hand, and dense despite it’s hollow core. The cratered surface was firm, with grass seeds poking out a few of the tiny holes.

“Let’s see if there are more!” Lila’s mother started pacing the moss of the rest area, and soon had filled her pockets with several more of the prized fungi. They’d have to find a kitchen to cook in tonight. It was too late in the day to sell a handful of gourmet mushrooms.

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