Backyard Wilderness Blog
November 2012
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While forests can provide lumber, firewood, habitat for game, and a number of wild edible and medicinal plants and mushrooms, there is a spiritual value to them that is not as materially tangible or easily measured. Simply going for a hike, immersing oneself in a quiet forest, taking in it's sensual beauty, can lower blood pressure, which indeed, can be measured, but it can also reinvigorate and restore a weary soul and create immeasurable happiness!
For many years I have admired the beauty of this scene, just on the east side of Interstate I-89 in Williston, VT.
The stream is named "Muddy Brook." It makes a great circuitous path from it's source in the foothills, flowing into a larger brook, which then flows into the Winooski River, and eventually Lake Champlain.
Native Abenaki peoples once foraged here, and not far from this location, at Shelburne Pond, archaeologists recently discovered native canoes, hundreds of years old, buried underwater in the mud near shore, still well-preserved as if awaiting the seasonal return of their owners.
Unfortunately, as beautiful as Muddy Brook appears, just a little upstream from this photo, it flows through soil contaminated in the 1960's with chemicals from an electronics manufacturer, and carries traces of cancer causing PCBs, (polychlorinated biphenols,) through town, all the way to the lake.
In pursuit of technological utopia, humans have degraded and despoiled the land nearly everywhere, so that it lies polluted beneath its inhabitants.
The photo above shows one of my favorite places in the forest. There are old Eastern Hemlock trees here which create a uniquely pleasant atmosphere of sight, sound, smell, and if one includes the king boletes, chanterelles, and lobster mushrooms which grow in symbiosis with hemlocks, taste!
Boletus edulis, also called Cep or King Bolete, is one of the most delectable mushrooms of all!
What's for lunch? Hypomyces lactifluorum, or Lobster mushroom sauteed in oil and butter!
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