Creative Foraging

“The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.”

~from Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

I always think of spring as the signal that new life is about to emerge. Bulbs push their way up through the earth, and new buds protrude on branches. That which has lain dormant through the winter hears the wake-up call of the spring rains.

But what about the rain that arrives in the fall?

It’s raining today, and we’ve been eagerly anticipating this much needed rainfall for weeks. After another exceptionally dry summer in our neck of the woods, the threat of fire has loomed large. With this precipitation we can all start to breathe a little easier, and the trails that have been closed due to fire danger will be opened up for hearty hikers. The burn ban will be lifted soon which means that we can set off our slash piles. Hunters have a better chance of bagging an elk when the weather turns cold and wet. Leaves fall and decay, downed trees continue to rot, the earth falls silent, and new growth feels months away.

Except for the wild mushrooms.

Chantrells are the crown jewels of the fall, and we wait for the rain that will call them forth. We forage for these elusive exquisite treasures of the woods, looking for the telltale bulge at the base of a tree that gives away their hiding place. Coming home with even one of these is worth the effort it takes to find it.

Today as the rain continues to fall outside my window, I’ve started to wonder if what is true of the wild mushroom is true of our work? Fall doesn’t naturally call forth new growth as we make our way to the end of another year. This is the time we focus on hitting our goals, finishing up projects, and checking things off of our end-of-the-year lists. Our creativity falls silent, and fresh new ideas can feel months away.

But what if?

What if there is a creative jewel just waiting for to be called forth by the rain?

What if there is an elusive treasure that could be food for creative thought?

What if we started looking for the telltale sign of an idea pressing up through the soil?

Bringing forth even one of these would be worth the effort it takes to find it.

There are still three months left. Plenty of time to forage.

 Photo: Stefan Holm Shutterstock ID: 86126398

Photo: Stefan Holm Shutterstock ID: 86126398