Thursday, June 7, 2012
Swimming in 'Shrooms
Then I strained my back lifting big dresser drawers full of clothes, which reminded me why I go so long without cleaning out the dresser drawers. (Bend the knees, bend the knees. I did. It's just the awkward bigness of these particular drawers.) I can swim with a strained back; it's just hard to get in and out of the pool! So I rested, and started today. Oh, joy! Oh, thrill. I love the water and gliding through it.
The Omnivore's Dilemma, by Michael Pollan, since last summer. I love reading this book, and have learned so much from it, but I kept reading it in spurts at just the right time. Also, I have to have my notebook or journal handy, as I keep writing stuff down from it and riffing on it. It has inspired several poems and numerous informal short essays in my private journal and public blog.
I also loved Pollan's book The Botany of Desire, which is actually mentioned in my poem, "The Apple," in Blood Lotus #20 (p.37), and gave me tulip info for a poem called "Tulips" in After Hours #17. The Omnivore's Dilemma--the section on corn (zea mays)--was on my mind when I wrote "Cassandra Observes the Midwestern in September," in Arsenic Lobster. (Also, it was September, and I was observing the Midwestern landscape.)
Yesterday, moving toward the book's conclusion in "the perfect meal," I was struck by many things Pollan said about hunters and foragers that apply to 1) being an artist and 2) being human. So I wrote them down.
The Big Year!), Pollan says, "They cobble together a living selling their mushrooms to brokers who set up shop in motel rooms near the forests, post signs, and pay the hunters in cash. Anthony and Ben [chefs who are taking Pollan on a mushroom expedition] aren't really a part of this world; they hold jobs, live in houses, and sell their mushrooms directly to restaurants. 'We don't think of ourselves as professionals yet,' Anthony said."
This wowed me. Anthony and Ben, who "hold jobs, live in houses, and sell...directly..." don't think of themselves as "professionals." They think of the guys living in vans as professionals. The guys who are fully committed to mushrooming and who risk everything!
I am very glad to be living in a house while cobbling a life together. And lap swimming. More gratitude.
And specific thanks to Wikipedia for the mushroom photos! Lactarius indigo by Dan Molter, for the blue stripes that are like lap swimming; Michael Maggs for the traditional red polka-dotted gnomish Disneyesque toadstool, Amanita muscaria; and Alan Rockefeller for the hallucinogenic Psilocybe zapotecorum. And, of course, Michael Pollan, for everything!