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Sunday, December 18, 2011


Passages: December 2011

Sleepless In San Mateo * Last Days of Autumn* Wild Mushrooms

There are many people who, for some reason or other, lie awake at night -- unable to go to sleep at all or cannot go back to sleep after waking up in the middle of the night.  

The nights can be long and depressing, especially for those who live alone.  Chronic insomnia requires professional help. This is about people who periodically suffer from it as I do.  There are times when the 'cause' can be identified -- health-related issues, anxiety, depression -- it does not take much to trigger bad nights.   The holiday season could induce it in some.  The cold weather;  dark, sunless sky, rains; they can all exacerbate the problem.

Cannot say that I cope with it well.  Have tried turning the light on to read. Does not do any good.  If the book is interesting I can keep on reading through the night without feeling drowsy. And, in my case,  the day's routine -- exercise, food, wine at dinner -- has no bearing at all; my routine rarely varies.  While strenuous exercise during the day does not help me to sleep at night, it certainly helps to avoid the feeling of being in a deep, dark hole.

The only sure relief is from pills (sleep aid).  Half a tablet of an OTC product usually ensures
a decent night.  Does not leave me feeling groggy the next morning.  But even then I don't make a habit of it.  I have an aversion about taking pills.  

Winter Solstice 

"On a withered bough
 a crow has stopped to perch
 and autumn darkens."
 --- Basho
A look at the calendar tells me that in four more days autumn will end.  The winter solstice is on December 22nd.   Piles of fallen leaves under the trees getting smaller. Some trees still display colorful autumn leaves, but not for long.  

                                                                         Birch Tree

Have not had much rain. But the rains might arrive with a vengeance and make us pine for sunny sky.  The seasons have their place.  There was a time when I found rainy days depressing.  Perhaps it is the wisdom that comes from age, but they have ceased to affect me.

This season, foraging for wild mushrooms has not been very rewarding. Found some oyster mushrooms, few puffballs and butter boletes.  The rains might make the chanterelles emerge.  A cluster of lion's mane was past its prime.

Warning: Do not use these pictures as guide to pick mushrooms for consumption. Wild mushrooms require thorough investigation.

                                             Butter Boletes ( Boletus appendiculatus)

              © Musafir  - Canon S710     

                                     Lion's Mane - Past its prime                        

© Musafir  - Canon S710    

                                                                 Puffball Mushroom
                                                               © Musafir - Canon S5 IS
                                                  Sulphur Shelf ( Laetiporus sulphureus)         
                                                            © Musafir - Canon S5 IS
                                                         Cluster of Oyster Mushrooms
                                                           © Musafir - Canon S5 IS


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