He Always Has Before


Coming home from the woods

In the morning, after chores but before breakfast, I walk up into the woods. The rain has been a steady companion over the past few days, and my boots are soon soaked through, along with my jeans nearly as high as the pockets, the exact height of the undergrowth, so thick in spots that I cannot see the ground.

I find a patch of chanterelles, then another, and another, and still another, orange as, well, oranges against the forest floor, an entire shirt full and so many more left for another day. I wander for a while, then head for home, where the last cord of firewood awaits, needing splitting. I cook the mushrooms in butter and new garlic and eat them from the pan, sitting on the front stoop, letting the early sun warm me. The cats stop by, roll on the ground a bit, rub my ankles. I finish my breakfast. It is 7:30 and the clouds are closing again. Down in the little stretch of orchard pasture I can hear Pip lowing for her calf. He must have slipped under the fence. He’ll find his way back again. He always has before.


8 thoughts on “He Always Has Before”

  1. Sweet! Too closed in for me though. I’m a high plains gal who needs to see the horizon to avoid a feeling of claustrophobia but sweet all the same! I’ve heard that mushrooms, broken off at the base, grow back after harvesting so, if done right, a person is not extincting the plant. Is that true? P.S. Thanks for the photo. You listened and you heard! We be visual.

  2. Ben –

    What a beautiful view! An oasis from the hustle and bustle (LOL) of Vermont life in summer. You have the best sanctuary a writer can have. One of these days I might run into you again – though life has me living farther afield than when we last connected. Say hello to Penni for me!

    ~ Wendy

    Sent from my iPhone


  3. It’s hard for me to fathom patches of chanterelles like that. We mostly have corn fields, soy fields, and corn fields. I follow lots of people who live in lush ecosystems and it seems like a heavenly world that I might be lucky to visit someday. So in short….EAT SOME FOR ME!!! I am imagining what they taste like in butter and garlic though, and that’s better than nothing!

  4. Mr. Hewitt….I bet I read this post a dozen times this morning. Gave me such a nice feeling and wonderful imagery. Thanks so much!

  5. I just want to thank you for sharing your world and words with us about your beautiful homestead, your family and adventures. If we had a chance to start over, I ‘m sure we would have opted for a more rural life. Our little 6 acres in the outer suburbs doesn’t cut it any more. Thank you!

  6. Thank you for sharing! I am a long time reader, but I don’t think I’ve ever commented before. This is just so much like a day in the life in our world here in rural NW Oregon. I take it for granted and events like gathering chanterelles and antics with livestock can seem boring and hardly worth mentioning. But when I read your simple but brilliant words I think, “Yes, and amen!” It isn’t boring. It is good and right and true. Thanks again.

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