Honey mushroom

That weekend they went to pick up mushrooms again. The forrests around her home city in the north-east of Poland were mushroom paradise. She was twelve and unlike her two older brothers she was still happy to spend weekends with her parents roaming in the forest in the search for mushrooms. She only picked those she knew. It must have been her mom who taught her through all these years. She loved hunting them like little treasures, even if you could never be sure to find any. It must have been early autumn, September probably. It was warm, sunny and dry, and in some open areas of the forest it felt scorching hot. They tried to find her favourites, saffron milk caps, but they did not have much luck that day. You need to know the places where to find them and the spots her parents chose to check this time did not turn out fruitful. And then, they came across this clearing in the forest – the area filled with stumps, some already rottening, among which some young pines, spruces and other leafy trees, some already up to 2-3 meters tall, were growing here and there. It was not easy to move around there. She wasn’t sure if her parents knew of the place or they found it by chance, but as they walked into the clearing, she saw that almost every stump was covered by the clusters of honey fungus. Large, dense clusters of yellow-light-brownish mushrooms. Separately they seemed quite fragile, with small conical caps and long, thin stripes. She liked their smooth, soft texture and delicate, but distinct scent. She cut them off gently at the bottom of the cluster, not to damage any of the little creatures, and make sure they stay together. Four or five of those clusters were enough to fill the whole basket. She was ecstactic, as she nearly run through the clearing, spotting stump after stump covered in the gold-like treasures. She lost sight of her parents, though she knew they were around. There seemed to be no end. Her biggest worry was they would not have enough space to take them all. She wanted to take them all. Some they would share among family or friends, but mostly they would end up being  marinated by her mom in the little jars, and they would eat them in winter. She liked eating them, she liked all the mushrooms, but the prospect of eating them did not excite her as much as finding, touching, smelling and collecting them.