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The recent warm weather urged me to work on outdoor activities. I admit now that putting things off until the winter months is useless. I always think working in the cold will be better than in the summer heat. Sure enough, January's cold temps kept me indoors. I better get things done in the spring because I will use the "It's too hot!" excuse in a few weeks.

April is prime morel hunting season. I know Dad always found a few on our property, and I did find some last year in the same place. It was a good bet I'd find them again. Hunting morels requires a mindset. I have to keep the image of the morel mushroom in my head in order for my eyes to lock onto it when scanning the ground. But walking the familiar paths caused my mind to wander.

Dad's passing was two years ago this month. I remember walking these same woods with him many times. Cutting down dead trees in winter for firewood and picking huckleberries in June were our favorite activities. I spy the tree we cut down in 2001. It was unique because it had three trunks. When we cut it, all three trunks fell perpendicular to each other. The trunks are still there but are more sawdust than tree now.

Walking on further into the woods, I come upon several stands of mayapple plants. Morels supposedly grow along with mayapples. I search carefully but find none. I move on, holding branches away from my face as I get into the denser brush. We never walked too closely behind Dad because he had a habit of letting the branches hit us. The woods are quiet except for the occasional song of a cardinal. The air gets cooler the further into the woods I go. I can look up and see the back of my house on the hill. When I was a kid, I never dreamed of having a house there or anywhere near Siloam.

"No way I was ever coming back here," I remember thinking back then.

I have not found a single morel. Maybe because I'm not focusing on finding them. Thoughts of younger years keep intruding. Where has the time gone? Why didn't I pay more attention to what was going on then? Did I think things would stay the same? I never thought about being old back then or losing parents to old age. I was too busy being impatient, wanting to leave and be on my own. That chance came much too quickly, in retrospect.

I give up on finding any morels. Perhaps some will pop up in a few more days. But I will come back to the woods, regardless.

Devin Houston is the president/CEO of Houston Enzymes. Send comments or questions to devin.houston@gmail.com. Opinions expressed are those of the author.

Editorial on 04/17/2019

Print Headline: An April walk in the woods

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