I have long had an obsession with photographing mushrooms. If you sift through the dozens of boxes and many more photo albums I have from back-in-the-day (it was indeed a Wednesday, Dane Cook!) when people still actually shot pictures with film, you would find mushroom photos scattered throughout and from any place that I happened to catch them sprouting up. I think perhaps the most unusual place I remember was at the top of our swing where they were peeking out from within the weathered wood A-frame that was its support. If I ever unearth those shots, I will certainly share them here. For now, I would like to share my most recent experience.
While out on one of my pick-me-up, I think I am going crazy walks to clear my head, I found it had been a glorious morning for mushrooms. As I walked the neighborhood, I spotted entire little villages of these beautiful fungi. Often feared as bad for lawns, most mushrooms are a necessary part of natural decomposition and indicate a very healthy lawn environment. Feeding off of old mulch (such as piled grass clippings), animal waste and rotting bits of tree limb or old stumps, they provide a cleanup service of sorts.
And I just love to look at them. And imagine. When I was a young child, I often drew pictures of toadstools with gnomes, faeries and ladybugs living beneath them. Yes, well the dreaming child grew into the dreaming adult.
Looks like a good home for a gnome, yes?
This array fascinated me and I must have taken dozens of shots. I was afraid the owner of the house would come out and run me off, like a stray animal lurking on the front lawn. ( I wasn’t actually ON the lawn, by the way). Many mushrooms sprout from spores that are blown onto the lawn from a neighboring yard or farther away. This often accounts for the patterns they spring up in.
Although the body of the mushroom may stay around for only a few days, the main body can last for years under ground but only will produce when the conditions are right, such as sudden changes in weather.
Even the tiniest soldier does not escape my eye.
Although there are different types and shapes of mushroom, it is interesting to watch them “bloom” throughout the day, first having very cupped and closed heads but often blossoming out and up by day’s end.
Like little whispering townsfolk, the finer fungi shunned the interlopers, vowing to keep them on the outskirts of the “ring”.
Red Rover, Red Rover, can Toadstool come over?
“Try to look pretty now, and maybe they won’t clip us from the earth. Smile!”
By late afternoon, I made my second trip around the neighborhood to find them dancing the fading sunlight, like little spinning tops-whirling porcelain ballerinas across a stage of emerald-green.
As I say a reluctant farewell to this lively group of performers, they appear to trudge away, spent, but glad to have been noticed for their beauty.
Until next time, little friends.
Mushroom in Spanish(Costa Rica)is hongo. That goes for any kind. Don’t be freaked when you see the same name across the container of anti fungal foot powder as you do across the edibles in the produce section. 😉