Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Magpie Tales: Muddy Water from the dowsers daughter

Here it is Tuesday already and Willow over at Life at Willow Manor has come up with a new blog site called  Magpie Tales  She will be posting a photo weekly as a prompt for a fictional account or poem telling of its history and/or how the item came into your possession.  Be sure to check out the other people's blogs for their tales. 
Muddy Water
I received a phone call to go out on a dowsing job, some call it "water witching", and it certainly is not the best day to go-- the ground is still muddy here in the North West. Have to remember to pack my Wellington boots with me and leave the dog at home, otherwise my car would be filled with muddy paw prints. The owner told me on the phone they needed to drill right away and couldn't wait till the weather dried out.  He also said that he was a mushroom grower, truffles, chanrelles, morel, and herbs, but mostly mushrooms.  I am always amazed at the diversity of people you meet when you go out on a dowsing job.  The gentleman who I spoke with on the phone didn't say much, he was brief, to the point, a little curt I thought, but he did have a lot on his plate from the little he did share with me.

Driving along the Columbia Gorge Highway, I feel like I am traveling back to the past.  At least, I thought to myself the trip will be filled with beautiful scenery.  When the Columbia Gorge Highway was built in 1916 it was coined  "the king of roads" with its mossy stone walls and graceful viaducts winding past dozens of waterfalls, this "All-American road still reigns as one of the world's most glorious drives. 

As I am getting nearer to my destination, I pass by the Columbia Gorge Hotel built during the roaring 1920's. My imagination soars as I dream about Rudolph Valentino, who was  a frequent visitor.  The old guest books reveals a showing of many young starlets signature's who Valentino brought to this  remote getaway far from Hollywood's prying eyes.

I leave the highway and drive up a long windy steep road, that eventually towards into a gravel road.
The mushroom grower's house is located off of an old logging trail.  There he is fixing a fence post -- looking somewhat serious, like an old weathered sea captain caught in a winter storm.  He points to where he wants me to park my car.  I was not wishing to waste much time here, it is cold, wet and getting dark out, besides he doesn't look like the friendly sort.  I quickly grab my dowsing  tools and jump out of the car, and both feet land in muddy water.  Drat! Now my feet are all wet I forgot to put on my boots.  Not to pleased with myself I quickly change into dry socks and warm boots. No sooner do I start to say hello -- he nods his head as if to say hello back and quickly turns around and walks away at a very fast pace.  I follow him in silence, amazed at how agile he was.  We head to one of his mushroom barns, one of the wells to the barn went out and he didn't want to lose his mushrooms.  Joseph is his name-- opens the door to the barn and motions me to go in.  It is well lit inside and I am taken back by what I see.  the place is immaculate inside- beautiful rows of colorful mushrooms -- well cared for.  His demeanor changes once we are inside the building -- he is pleased that I am taken by what I see.  This is the first time he actually looks me in the eye and manages a small wry smile.  His eyes are deep set, dark and piercing - they say that the eyes are the window to the soul  and his eyes speak volumes.  He softens a little and takes note that I am genuinely interested in his trade; he gives me the cook's tour. I run my finger through the deep plush of the chartreuse chanrelle and surprised by my own voice, I ask if I could come back and visit sometime and take photographs.  As we head out the back door I notice an object way up high on one of the shelves pushed back in between rows of mushrooms - it looks out of place.  Somehow he notices me staring and without hesitation he reaches up and snatches it off the shelf and hands it to me.
And says "Nobody ever asked"  Nobody ever cared."  "It is yours - I won it long time ago and it since lost it meaning, but today I offer it to you in the toast of friendship, and yes, do please come back and take pictures."