The following is Part 2 in Lori Garrison’s series on morel harvesting in the North. Read Part 1. The piece contains strong language that may not be suitable for younger readers.
“Don’t worry,” the boatman says to me, “you’ve just got a touch of heat exhaustion. You’re going to feel like shit, but you’re going be fine.”
I’m laying propped up against a fallen aspen, half on my back and half on my side. Above me, the sparse canopy of red pines shimmers unsteadily back and forth – my eyes cannot seem to find a spot on which to focus – and while I know the Boatman is talking to me, it seems to take much longer than usual for his words sink in, as if they were filtering very slowly through cheese cloth. Someone has draped a tattered, dirty, but gloriously cool t-shirt over my forehead, which smells powerfully of river water and sweat. Its owner is standing nearby, holding a hand rolled cigarette between his lips but not smoking it. My frame pack is near by, looking as tattered as I feel, fully loaded with four baskets of morels.