We had some beautiful weather yesterday and it would have been a shame not to go out and enjoy the beautiful colours of autumn in one of the woods we are fortunate to have near home. We decided to go cycling down to Sauvabelin so as to be able to go hunting for some mushrooms. However, I must admit that I was not expecting to take a leading role in that respect as I was more interested in making use of the glorious sunshine to try to catch some dazzling display of autumn colours with my pocket Nikon camera.
My wife was more lucky than I was because she got to find some ‘trumpets of death’ (also known as ‘horns of plenty’) not long after we had entered the wood, whereas I had to wait a little longer, namely until we reached an area a little further uphill, all lit up by the sun, in keeping with the etymology some claim for Sauvabelin: Sylva Beleni, the forest of the Celtic god Belenus (or Belenos), a solar god! For my part, I prefer the feminine version Sylva Belenae, the forest of the Celtic goddess Belena (from the root words bhel-, which means white, bright, shiny, lit up, and –ana, which means water, mother, spring or grandmother). By the way, Belena is the goddess that gave her name to the Swiss watchmaking city of Bienne (Biel in German – source: Kurt Derungs, Mythen und Kultplätze im Drei-Seen-Land).
Strangely, as we moved closer to the river, i.e. closer to Belena, the trees became more majestic. I almost fell in love with these 😉
I only had to direct my gaze up the trunk of this very tall tree to get a full grasp of the meaning of the Celtic word bhel-. What a sight, what a pleasure for the eye such colours lit up by the glorious sunshine against a blue sky on a cold November afternoon.
Unfortunately, as I was looking for mushrooms, I came across several empty cans of beer and some plastic bottles too. I swore to myself that I would come back with a bag and pick them up. I really cannot stand the sight of litter in such a beautiful environment: shame on us for not having taught our kids/young adults to behave properly and not discard items which will take years and years to disintegrate — and in the case of this PET bottle, one does not know how long it will take for the bottle to biodegrade (decompose) as polyethylene terephthalate is believed to be nearly indestructible…
I decided not to think about the litter for too long lest it would spoil my outing! So we carried on with our search and left that area.
We did find many mushrooms but most were either not edible or they were mushrooms which we were not sure about – just like this one, which seems to be from the boletus family (dear reader, please do not worry as we do not eat mushrooms we do not know).
As we were quite disappointed with the amount of mushrooms we had gathered, we decided to make our way to Mauvernay (a part of Bois du Jorat where we had found plenty of chanterelles two weeks earlier) from Sauvabelin along the river. However, for some strange reason, my wife fell off her bicycle and hurt her left arm not long after we had started to cycle downhill towards the river. It was highly distressing to see her lie on the ground holding her arm in pain.
Fortunately, her arm was not broken and, after a couple of minutes, she managed to get up and she was even able to walk a little. I was so relieved, even though it meant that there would be no visit to the –ana on our bicycles this time.
On our way out of the wood, I stopped when I saw my ‘favourite’ trees, so as to be able to take in a little bhel– and hence not leave Sauvabelin only with a bad memory. My wife’s arm has a nasty bruise but, fortunately, it is not broken.
- Enjoying golden Sauvabelin while foraging … (wife’s blog, 2013)
- Courir à Sauvabelin lorsqu’il a neigé
- Running when there is snow at Parc Sauvabelin