1. 1.
    traveling from place to place, especially working or based in various places for relatively short periods.
    "the peripatetic nature of military life"
    synonyms:nomadic, itinerant, traveling, wandering, roving, roaming, migrant,migratory, unsettled
    "I could never get used to her peripatetic lifestyle"
  2. 2.
  1. 1.
    a person who travels from place to place.
  2. 2.
    an Aristotelian philosopher.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Nature of Ephemerals--Disappearing Gold in Georgia--Trout Lilies and Other 'Miracles'

Trout lily, Erythronium umbilicatum, seen at Wolf Creek Trout Lily Preserve on Feb. 26, 2011
Seeing is not believing. For this reason, the question whether miracles occur can never be answered simply by experience. Every event which might claim to be a miracle is, in the last resort, something presented to our senses, something seen, heard, touched, smelled, or tasted. And our senses are not infallible. If anything extraordinary seems to have happened, we can always say that we have been the victims of an illusion. If we hold a philosophy which excludes the supernatural, this is what we always shall say. What we learn from experience depends on the kind of philosophy we bring to experience.--C. S. Lewis, Miracles
 I don't blame you for not believing me when I tell you there is gold in Georgia. It's almost gone, though, so don't drop whatever it is you're doing, grab your gold pan, and head for the hills. By the time you get to Wolf Creek Trout Lily Preserve--unless you live nearby--chances are the trout lilies will be done blooming for the year. That's the nature of ephemerals: here today and gone tomorrow. Like the balance in the checking account after paying the bills each month.
Remember that anniversary last Wednesday that SAM and I celebrated? He, sweet man that he is, stopped on his way home from work on Tuesday, February 22, and bought me a potful of calla lilies, a bottle (or two) of wine, and a balloon.
The lovely balloon that he brought home to the apartment in Tallahassee on Tuesday was not the one he had originally chosen and purchased. He said that one was snatched away by a gust of wind just as he was putting it in his truck. Well, guess what? We find it on Saturday, waiting for us in the woods in Georgia. Spirited away there one day and discovered here four days later...

After touring the trout lily preserve, we decide to visit Birdsong Nature Center, another Georgia treasure. At the conclusion of the Butterflies, Bees, and Bats seminar the week before, the couple sitting in front of us compliment me on the banana muffins I have brought to the event. That reminds me! I need to e-mail them the recipe. Better yet, I'll add the recipe to the blog under a new tab and send them a link. The more readers, the merrier! Anyway, after introductions all around and some pleasant conversation, we confess that we are walkers through and through. They think we might enjoy visiting the lily preserve and checking out some other trails in the area. Birdsong, a former plantation full of history and mystery, is high on a list of favorites.

Now, I ask you, what if I had brought store-bought muffins to share and not those homemade ones? Would those nice people have been so helpful and forthcoming with their suggestions and directions? Maybe so, but I think that making a little extra effort butters the serendipity pan, so to speak.

Speaking of buttering the pan...Somewhere along a Birdsong trail, just before we find that errant balloon, we spot these mushrooms growing on a rotting log. SAM convinces me that they are edible. He says his dad used to find the same kind in the woods in Southern Illinois while deer hunting and brought them home for SAM's mom to batter and fry. The ones we find are fresh and tender and, in the nature of ephemeral things, not likely to stay that way for long. So, I figure, why not? We pick one cluster of many that are growing on the log. Cross my heart, that's all we take! Only problem is, we have nothing to put (hide) them in except my camera bag. Would anyone notice? Or care?

Honestly, I don't take plants from their natural setting. The trout lilies were safe with us, notwithstanding the manhandling pictured above. Mushrooms, on the other hand, aren't plants. Here today and here tomorrow, thanks to their mode of reproduction. To my way of thinking, they are suitable game for bagging or snagging, or whatever you want to call it. All's fair in love and spore!

SAM wants to try them grilled, and I prefer them sauteed in butter along with some garlic, wine, and heavy cream, served atop a piece of toast. We divide the haul in half and try them both ways. All of the evidence--if you can believe it--in the nature of ephemerals, disappears without a trace.

The "bird window" designed by Betty Komarek, one of the nature center's founders

 Our impressions of Birdsong, however, will remain with us forever.

One of many well-tended walking trails at Birdsong
The Listening Place, a screened pavilion which overlooks Big Bay Swamp

Some artwork to admire while relaxing in front of the bird window


  1. Happy anniversary to you and SAM –you did well! Lovely calla lily image and those are funky mushrooms. I'd be too scared to pick and eat unless from my garden.

  2. I just do believe in miracles and finding that balloon was one for sure! I hope those mushrooms were good. I like them sauteed too. Yum!

  3. Oh, Ingrid, you are writing about one of my most favorite things in the whole wide world - spring ephemerals!! How I love to traispe through the forest on a lovely spring day in Maine to hunt for these little beauties. It's still pretty cold, and there is often little piles of snow here and there, and it is the most splendid experience. I live for it!! Won't be long now!~karen

  4. That is very strange that you ended up finding the balloon later.
    My husband would love those mushrooms, but I will pass.
    We just watched Faith like Potatoes an it was full of miracles.

  5. Amazing balloon story!!!

    So glad you are still alive to be typing out this post! Glad SAM knew his mushrooms!!! :)

    Birdsong Nature Center looks like a really neat place! What city is it in there?...we will stop on our next vacation!!!

  6. Happy Anniversary. The pictures are beautiful. I believe that we can know our creator through nature.
    One of the balloons that I got for my grandson blew away and I went and got an other one. When I came back from the store a man in a parked car shouted and pointed out the balloon to me which was stuck in a rose bush in a house across the street. I went and got it. Later on I realized the danger of tresspassing in some one's house for a balloon. My husband thinks that grandkids make you forget every thing.

  7. Those mushrooms look delicious! I don't think mushrooms fall under the "taking no plant" rule--they're fair game for anyone who finds them. I have several friends who like to go mushroom hunting, but the only time I've been, we didn't find a single one.

    How amazing that you found your anniversary balloon on your walk! If this wasn't a miracle, it surely was some kind of sign, maybe to lead you to this beautiful destination. I like the idea of the "listening Place," just as soothing and serene as a Japanese Garden.

  8. First and foremost, Happy Anniversary! I love the quote by C.S. Lewis. He was a wise soul and I agree with his philosophy here.

    The mushrooms look great! I also like them better sautéed. I have a friend who loves to forage and gets lots of wild herbs which are phenomenal!

    Finally, your pictures here are so poetic and They can be a retreat unto themselves and I thank you for them. Peace.

  9. Wow, you were brave eating those mushrooms. I wouldn't know the difference between what will kill you, space you out or nourish you.Respect to SAM! I always wimp out and get mine from the supermarket. They looked good in your photo though. Garlic, wine and toast! Perfect. And you lived to tell the tale, thank goodness.

    Best wishes


  10. gorgeous photos--that lily is absolutely beautiful. And that mushroom! Amazing. Thanks for sharing~ :o) <3

  11. "Sam convinces me they are edible"--and "So, I figure, why not?"

    Uh, not good enough for me. Although those were edible, obviously. There's a lot of "why not." You need a liver with some real guts. Not that that's an image I care to dwell on, either.

    That said, they're best used as a vehicle for butter, and also good with ice cream. Everything's good with ice cream.

    My dad was a mushroom expert, and even he managed to poison my mom on their honeymoon. And he didn't even have insurance on her.

  12. Thank you, Sarah. We don't make a habit of eating wild mushrooms, especially ones we're not familiar with. These were as safe as safe can be.

    Tina, I knew there were some miracle believers out there. Glad you're one of 'em. And yes, the mushrooms were excellent.

    Karen, I figured you were an ephemeral enthusiast. Can't wait to see the ones you find.

    Rosey, I guess some of us like to live dangerously. No, really, these shrooms were familiar and nothing to be afraid of. Asking a little blessing before meals never hurts, though:)

    Julie, I never fear when SAM is near. He's my miracle man. Remember that story he told about being lost in the Arkansas woods? The Birdsong place is not far from Thomasville or Cairo, Georgia. If you click on the link, you will find some directions. I hope you can visit it someday. Give us a call before you do, and maybe we can meet up.

  13. Munir, I think you're right about nature and the Creator. Your husband is right about the grandkid effect. Whenever we get to spend time with our grandson, we forget how old we are, until the next day when the old muscles and joints remind us--after we've jumped around like we thought we were 30 years younger. Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment.

    Rose, I'm glad you agree about the mushrooms. I felt a little guilty for taking them, and SAM said I was being silly. He's usually right. Yes! I do think we were meant to find the balloon where we did. It was the perfect end to a perfect week.

    Thank you, Ciss B. Your praise is much appreciated. Most people just know C.S. Lewis for his children's stories and don't realize what a wonderful philosopher and Christian apologist he was.

    Michael, I'm pretty cautious too when it comes to foraging for mushrooms. SAM was most sure about them, having eaten them time and again as a kid. Thanks for stopping by! So happy to see you here.

    LTM, I'm glad you liked the pics and story. Alabama's woods are just as amazing, I'm sure.

    Ms. Brewster, it is strange how many experts eventually manage to eat crow. I suppose your mom must have lived to feed it to him. Thanks for stopping by to deliver your opinion on the subject. Not too sure I agree with you about pairing mushrooms with ice cream, though.

  14. Awesome pics. I have to admit I do not care for mushrooms, although I do like the garlic and the wine. Two out of three isn;t bad.

  15. Hi, thanks for reading my blog. Last week I was sad about the twenty three year old and then the high school athelete who collpased and died in Detroit. When a brave fire fighter saved two men who were hanging dangerously on the side of a building I started having hope again.

  16. The Listening Place looks like a great place for plotting and planning a novel :)

  17. You've just won an award! Stop by my blog to see it :)

  18. Mr. Tremp, thank you. You're not alone in your dislike of the 'shrooms. Even I don't like some of the more pungent ones. These were right on the edge of being classified as such. The garlic and wine definitely saved the day:)

    Munir, you must be very empathic, and that can play havoc with your emotions. I think writing can help you create a safe emotional distance so it's a good thing you started blogging. Thanks for stopping by again.

    Ms. Clancy, I believe you're right. I wish we lived a little closer to the place so I could test out your theory.

    Wow, Ms. Hellmann, thank you! I'll be right over to check it out.

  19. So nice to meet you! Thanks for stopping by my blog today. It seems we have some things in common. :)

    Love your photos. Look forward to getting to know you a little better.


  20. Welcome, Ms. Lange! It's nice to meet another homeschooler, though I'm "retired" from it now. Now I'm wondering if we ever really are retired. I'm still a learner and a teacher in some form or other. Anyway, thanks for stopping by and commenting. Hope you have a great week!

  21. Trout lilies are quite rare in our ephemeral spring woods. I watch for them and morel mushrooms, flyrod in hand. Once or twice, I even met a woodland nymph there and traded some fresh caught trout for the other. We both left happy. :)

  22. Ephemeral with substance. I'm seeing more and more about shroom gathering in these here parts. I guess the parks ARE the best place to find them, where else would we find them? Lovely parks and your writing and photos, spot on as ever.

  23. TB, I think trout lilies are rare just about everywhere. Along with the nymphs, they're an endangered species around here.

    Thanks, Paula! Maybe the rise in food prices has something to do with the 'shroom gathering. At least I hope people are picking the edible ones and not hoping to find the kind touted for other purposes. If you google mushroom, all kinds of interesting websites pop up about that other kind. So I guess your hubs is starting a blog? Good for him! I'm pretty sure I stopped by last night, but it was late and I wasn't thinking clearly enough to leave a comment.

  24. If not for the pictures, I would say you were hallucinating being there from eating wild mushrooms! LOL, You are way to brave for me to eat wild shrooms girl. I have a funny to add to this one. The Saints mom is German and one time while in Bavaria with her brothers picking wild mushrooms, one brother became really sick. Everyone was thinking he had eaten poison mushrooms as he was barfing his head off. Saints mother may be German but one thing she is not typical German about is she does not drink. Her brothers do and she knew the barfing was from the amounts of beir and not the mushrooms she picked for them to eat! She will only pick mushrooms in Germany as she is too afraid of the ones here in the states. She knows her German Fungi….

    I am captivated by your Nature Park. Since our last name is “Birdsong” I think we may have to check this place out some time when we have nothing better to do.

    You sure Sam was not pulling your leg on the balloon? That is amazing how you found it or did it find you???

  25. Skeeter, that is too funny about your MIL's brother and too cool that your name is Birdsong! This place is a bit south of you, I think, but if you include Thomasville in the itinerary, the trip would be worth it. No, SAM was not pulling my leg. I made him look into my eyes as I can always tell when he's fibbing. I think the balloon was waiting for us to find it.

  26. Dear walk2write,
    I like your words "making a little extra effort butters the serendipity pan" very much - that is what gives life spice, that little extra effort, makes marriages last, and leads to extraordinary meals, and miracles! All the best to you! Britta

  27. Thanks fr letting me know about these wonderful elements like trout lilies from the nature. No one can explore the complete resources exist on the globe..

    and about the garden of literature, I asked my friend fr some of its pictures, i will publish those pix in my blog as soon as I get them.