Leslie Estep, MD – Medical Director

Joined HNW 3/2011

This is an enormous cauliflower mushroom.   I was out looking for chanterelles and found it instead.   I had seen them in field guides, but had never found one.  It was large enough to easily share with my fellow mushroom hunters and a few neighbors too.  And it was delicious!

I’m not a serious mushroom hunter.  We go occasionally to a spot we know that’s good for chanterelles.  That day, I hadn’t found much, so I decided to get off the usual path.  I half-walked and half-slid down a rather steep slope.  It was lovely down there, but no chanterelles.   The slope was a lot steeper going back up than it seemed going down.  Steep enough that I had to grasp trees and shrubs to keep from sliding back and to have to stop and rest a few times.  And steep enough to grumble to myself a little . . . then, with my nose almost to the ground, trying to get uphill . . . this treasure appeared.

This is why I love to go outside and experience the natural world.  There are so many gifts and treasures to find if I can be quiet and slow down enough to appreciate them.

I can’t say that I have a well-defined bucket list.  In fact, I kind-of resist the notion.  I want to be open to what comes, rather than fixed on a single goal.  I want to live with my head up and my heart open.   Head up to see what is possible.  Heart open to be grateful for what is in front of me.  I want to live like the poet Rilke suggests:

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves . . . Perhaps you will then gradually . . . live along some distant day into the answer.”