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all I ever wanted

2013 August 28
by Rachel Turiel


Driving up to the mountains to celebrate our anniversary, wild mushrooms, and late-season ripeness in the high country, Rose suggests putting on a record (the Luddite doesn’t fall far from the tree). We insert the mixed tape I made Dan in 1995, called Songs For Your 24th Year. Every song is still ours. Looking for that woman-girl/Who knows love will endure/And you know it will. (Although the kids thought this one was theirs: Stop children what’s that sound/everybody look what’s going down).


Late season mountains: the skeeters are mostly gone, wildflowers are mostly gone (save for bright purple gentians popping in the sea of tawny grasses). Just being amongst the withering mountain plants exhaling their sweet, heady ripeness, feels like attending the ceremony: change. We head out each day with basket, knife, paintbrush (to brush dirt off mushroom stems) and mental search images of chanterelles and boletes. Voices ring out through the spruce trees, “Here’s one! Oh, here’s another!” Rose finds oozing hot pink fungi and tells me, “If I liked mushrooms, I’d eat the pink ones.”


We don’t find chanterelles, but eat boletes (porcinis) with every campfire meal. They taste like slippery meat and squiggle around  our mouths activating tastebuds that have been asleep since last August.



The outdoor mushroom drying rack, naturally.

We tell the kids, “eleven years ago right now we were driving the truck, all gussied up, heading to our wedding, er, an hour late.” “Was I in the backseat?” Rose asks. “Eleven years ago now we were dancing,” we tell them, “all of us, even Baba.” “I remember that part,” Col says, nodding. I know what they mean, it seems crazy that they weren’t there. Crazy that the biological undertow pulling me down in my late 20’s, thrumming have baby now have baby now didn’t include a sneak preview of these actual children, whose very faces reflect the fire light, their presence as solid and immutable as Sheep Mountain looming over our camp.


Father/son meadow nap.

We sit at the campfire for hours, children on our laps (why do we even bring four camp chairs?) begging for stories from our childhoods. Mine are all recounts of sugar-crazed rule-breaking, and the kids gasp and giggle admiringly as if beneath my Mama-uniform I’m actually the Superhero of Naughtiness. Dan, as usual, balances everything out with wholesome tales of eating enormous after-school bowls of ramen with his doting grandma. The kids snuggle in tight and request more stories, more! enjoying the unlimited access to parents who have nothing much to do other than add a log to the fire and tailor stories to their precise delight.

Throughout the weekend, I keep thinking, as we find, clean, slice and eat more mushrooms, “What a wild mushroom trip we’re on with the kids,” which makes me giggle a little as I squeeze Rose’s hand, wending through the trees, eyes on the ground. We pop boletes in the basket, Col finds an owl feather, Rose shares every thought that scrabbles across her mind, the kids complain about too much hiking, Col loses the swiss army knife I gave him approximately 37 hours earlier, the mountain plants lay their weary spent heads down. And I am certain this wild mushroom trip with the kids, this life, is all I ever wanted.


More mushroom stories and fungal socialism, 6512-style, here.

20 Responses leave one →
  1. August 28, 2013

    I read Songs for Your 24th Year and felt like weeping. Youth! I have to remember that one day I will look back at these days and think of myself now as young, too.

    What makes the fields yellow?

    Happy anniversary!

    • Rachel Turiel permalink
      August 28, 2013


      You will. It’s true. When you’re sixty, or seventy and covered in grandchildren, you will think back on these days of raising young kids and know that you too were just a kid.

      Plants are reacting to the decrease of daylight and begin to stop photosynthesizing, losing chlorophyll and turning yellow.

  2. Bree permalink
    August 28, 2013

    Love the title of this post and sentiment you conveyed within it.
    (My kids think they were at my wedding too. I never knew that was a universal kid thought.)

  3. Andrea permalink
    August 28, 2013

    A wild mushroom trip, indeed.

  4. August 28, 2013

    Happy Anniversary! Sounds like a perfect way to celebrate!

  5. Melissa H permalink
    August 28, 2013

    Over the past few years of reading your blog, I’ve realized that it helps me mark the passage of the seasons. You have such distinct seasons up there at 6512 ft. I’m in sunny southern California and we are just getting into our really hot season and can expect heat for at least the next month. I really enjoy watching your seasons change.

    In the fourth picture down (the one of Col and Dan walking) there are tall plants that arr just startin to turn yellow. We spent a week in the Sierra Nevadas and I saw this plant everywhere. Do you know what it is?

    • Rachel Turiel permalink
      August 28, 2013

      Those are called corn husk lily, or veratrum tenuipetalum, if you like latin. Aren’t they wonderful!
      My parents, who live in Northern Cali, say there *are* seasons, they’re just subtle.

  6. August 28, 2013

    Oh Rachel, this is a greatest hit.

  7. Jo Hadley permalink
    August 28, 2013

    Very sweet post, Rachel. Thanks.

  8. Susan S permalink
    August 28, 2013

    Father/son meadow nap just slays me. I’ve got a lump in my throat. Oh, the tenderness!

  9. August 28, 2013

    Om Mani Padme Hung!

    beyond wor(l)ds on this one…

    feeble ilg bows at your Lotus Feet

  10. August 30, 2013

    I love your always charming, always exquisite stories. And family!

  11. Ellie permalink
    August 31, 2013

    I couldn’t get to reading this for a couple of busy days, but the wait was so worth it. Thank you, as always, for reminding us of, you know, the stuff that matters.

  12. Ellie permalink
    August 31, 2013

    p.s. also, that photo of father and son napping in the meadow took my breath away–

  13. Amy Morrison permalink
    August 31, 2013

    So tender and amazing. Thank you for sharing once again Rachel

  14. September 1, 2013

    Tender and perfect. What a trip indeed.

  15. September 1, 2013

    I know this feeling (the “This is all I ever wanted” one)… doesn’t it feel like pure bliss? As if the little music inside you becomes in harmony with the melody that surrounds you. We love Bolete! We picked tons last summer in the Yukon!!

  16. September 2, 2013

    It’s so handy I like your writing AND that you’re in the same stage of life as me. Posts like this make me so happy, for you– but also for me. It’s nice to get my contentment tank fueled up as my wonderful children natter and bicker in the background.

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