We drive to Höör to find the Forest’s Gold. We’re a bit late in the season and too far south to find many chanterelles, but it’s a good excuse to spend the day in the forest. It starts to rain on the way there, but the autumn trees are even more radiant in their crimson and amber and velvet green against a grey sky. When we park it begins to snow; sleety flakes that only remain on the ground in the shadows.
Höör forest. Photo by Jessica Zarins, 2018.
The air is cold and wet but the leaves are warm like honey and syrup. Billions of leaves carpet the floor softly in years and years of layers. Our feet sink down in them and leave footsteps, although the snow stays in the air. We scrape with our boots, unsure where the leaves end and the ground begins. But the layers are so many and thick it’s difficult, if not impossible, for mushrooms to grow, and for us to find them.
Leave tracks. Photo by Jessica Zarins, 2018.
We find some coniferous corners of the woods. We search in the nooks of rocks and roots. Plenty of mushrooms we don’t know, which our mother told us never to eat, but no chanterelles. If there is any, the Gold remains camouflaged.
Cecilia among the pines. Photo by Jessica Zarins, 2018.
By a bolder under some beech branches we stop for fika. Coffee and egg sandwiches, and chokladbollar for desert. The snow still falls, our fingers freeze and we stare into the woods, full of hidden life. We know it’s there. We can feel it even if we can’t see it.
Forest gold and snow. Photo by Jessica Zarins, 2018.
When we get up, the snow has stopped. Back on the path the forest glistens and glitters like precious metal in its wetness. The warm leaves shine like straight out of the oven saffron buns at Lucia. We will find no Forest’s Gold to eat, but the sun comes out in brilliance and warms and dries us like a homely hearth.
Red cabin in the woods. Photo by Jessica Zarins, 2018.
The chanterelles evaded us. But we still struck gold.
The path home. Photo by Jessica Zarins, 2018.