The Beauty of the Mushroom
The Beauty of Mushrooms
Walking outside today, I noticed something in the air. It was the smell of a changing season. Musky, moldy, wet, earthy. The air was sticky sweet with humidity. The mosquitoes whined and lit on my arms. It was cloudy and damp, with the feel of dusk, yet it was only afternoon. The constant rain had saturated the earth till it was spongy. Yet, I noticed something else: the simple beauty of nature around me.
Mushrooms Spring Up Overnight
What I noticed was the mushrooms. Lots of them. The chemical reaction of rain, dampness, earth and mold had played it's roll well. As I examined the variety of mushrooms in my yard and surrounding pasture, I wondered how in the world they could grow so fast. Almost overnight, it seemed, they popped their heads up and displayed themselves in diverse ways. Round and flat, white and yellow, the variety was endless. I could see a story in each one, a pattern of intricate tissue surrounding a sturdy stem. How lovely!
What do you see in these mushrooms?
Mushrooms Are a Fungus
Then I wondered how mushrooms were created. I found out that they're actually a fungus derived from mold and mildew. Fascinating! They seem to take every shape, form and fashion imaginable.
Ranging from large, bold and vibrant to flat, brown and ugly, these little wonders resemble everything from a lollypop to a pancake, depending on your imagination. Some look like leather, while others have a velvet texture. There's a surprise in every one.
Mushrooms Come in Many Shapes
Though the specimens aren't very exciting, I could still imagine seeing different objects within them. What determines where a mushroom grows? How do they conform to different shapes? Why is the mushroom in the tire yellow and the blunt, fat spore a dull brown?
Have you ever become aware of the beauty in something you've never noticed before? Maybe something you take for granted at your door step? What about those un-noticed things?
I couldn't help but share the photographs I took. It seems like such a simple thing, these mushrooms. But for some reason, I couldn't leave it alone.
Remember those old "puffball" mushrooms/spores we used to stomp on when we were kids? They made a cloud of dust. We used to fight over who would get to step on the "ball" first. How long has it been since you stomped a mushroom ball?
I call this specimen the UFO: Unidentified Flat Object
Beauty Comes in Unusual Packages
The next time you're in the park, countryside or woods, take a look at the little things around you. A sprig of grass, a leaf or the bark on a tree. Imagine the miracle that takes place for flora to evolve into something unusual. The simple beauty of the littlest things can grab you unexpectedly.
Sometimes, surprises come in the most unusual packages.
The same cluster of mushrooms from photograph at top of page AFTER 4 days.
Sites With Good Information On How To Identify Good & Bad Mushrooms
- A Mushroom Identification Adventure: Some Tips and Techniques
Learn the basics of mushroom identification including how to get started, what to look for, and information on poisonous mushrooms!
- Poisonous Mushrooms
Every mushroom hunter should be familiar with the three most dangerous groups of fungi. These are the amanitas, the false morels and a catch-all category known as little brown mushrooms. Please visit the website to learn how to identify them.