The guy’s been at it over 40 years, yet he’s talking like he just discovered these things yesterday. Paul Stamets is a lover of wonder. His chosen focus of attention is fungi – in all their glory.
There are a lot of things I like in life, many that I have been at for years, but I can’t even begin to hold a candle to the devotion Paul has for mushrooms. While he is a renowned scientist, with numerous patents to his name, a sought after speaker, and an author, mostly he’s an enthusiast.
It’s really fun being around people who are totally into whatever they are into. It’s infectious. They make no apologies for their joy and are generous with their knowledge, excited to bring others into the fold. They’re the best kind of evangelists.
I bumped into an old friend in a coffee shop last week. With hardly a breath after ‘hello’ he launched into talking about his volunteer work. He’s trying to find ways to make Vancouver less lonely. Next thing, I had a necklace of silver beads around my neck. “Those represent the hundred people you know – one out of four of them feels disconnected. We need to figure out ways to draw them in!” I got it and was on board.
I’m a sucker for the passionate. It can be movies, furniture, history, or, in the present circumstance, chanterelles. It’s not so much the ‘what’ as it is the ‘why’. What’s the motivation behind being an expert in Latin American conflicts, early 20th century jazz, kombucha, or beekeeping? How does it bleed into their everyday?
The pursuit of knowing, of understanding, of trying is more than noble. As Paul is waxing poetic about spore colour and gill patterns, I am thinking – it’s just so cool to be keen.