CHAGA SEVEN: HOW YOU NEVER KNOW FOR SURE, I’LL BE A SON OF A GUN, AND NATURE HAS THE LAST LAUGH
This morning was different. We missed getting out to the fields and forests yesterday, which is a rarity. So I and the dogs headed out there as soon as we could and went deep and far into it all. The spring is just about to begin its blooming, and there is some irrational evidence of this in the air. Some rain could be felt, and it will not be long before the real storms and multi-textured clouds come, before the dusk makes brilliantly odd and intricate shapes with the departing sun and the cumulus clouds that make up the firmament’s ceiling paint.
So we went here and there, atop this summit, down that incline, along and around a favorite sandpit, and then began heading slowly, pointedly but still placidly back in the direction of our entrance. On a whim, I decided to go down a steep valley wall. This was where I had encounter the two men originally trying to harvest a huge chaga mushroom, perhaps thirty feet up a tree.
It has been a while since then, and I wasn’t thinking about the mushroom. I was only walking, with really no intention. I glanced up and to the left, - often looking up as I do, - at birds, at sounds if one can glance at sounds, - at the third eye, at whatever.
I noticed something odd.
It was chiselled wood, high up that old tree. And the wood was the chaga!
What did this mean?
I knew what it meant right away- , and it was that it wasn’t chaga at all, - but just an outgrowth of wood.
I said to myself, from far away, in my head, ‘I’ll be a son of a bitch.’ And I thought, ‘Nature has fooled everyone this time around, - and made us to think that it had chaga when it was just wood.’ I went closer. Could it be that the men had gone all the way up, against the rules and regulations of the provincial and regional land, and defiantly against the rules of private property, to take parts of this Chaga, or the whole thing,- only to find that it was only part of a tree that for some reason looked like chaga?
It was the case.
And even the metal steps they had made, - had drilled into the tree, over a dozen, - had been removed.
I went to the bottom and just gazed up. They had cut into it from both sides, - surely disappointed by the first cut, - and then trying the other side. Not being Chaga at all, - they left with their tools, their steps, and their equipment.
I had a little laugh to myself and carried on. I went past where the old car was with the bullet holes, and encountered many other mushrooms, moss, and trees that had fallen through age or storm thus exposing wonderfully intricate and fairy tale-like root systems.
Something from the dark, from under the terrene and often dark forest floor, - that was now allowing streams of light to expose its secret and labyrinthine contours and systems.
And after all that,- I took yet another side path, another way to make the journey another half hour longer and give myself and the canines more exercise, air, adventure.
What did I see?
I saw a little chaga, - right there on an old birch, - and it looked indecipherable from just black parts of bark, from regular outgrowths. And I chipped it off with my thumb and forefinger and examined it. About an inch by an inch- it looked like a piece of petrified wood, or an exotic orange and black partly tumbled gemstone.
But it was the real thing.
And I thanked the tree and slipped it into my pocket where it sits as I write this.
Chaga and I are sort of friends. There is a kinship.
Chaga Chaga Chaga Choo Choo I think for no reason, for nonsensical mind-fun.