I mistook it for a pinecone: the pale little mushroom half-buried in the bed of soil and pine needles. I reached for it anyway, just to confirm, and my fingers landed not on charred, crumbling pinecone, but on supple fungus. “I found one!” I shouted, shuffling away the dirt from around the mushroom. I snipped the base of the stalk and held aloft my prize: the morel. The cone was a creamy beige, tapered at

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