I am astounded by the constant change of the forest here, in Maine. There is a time for everything and everything has its time. We have an incredible amount of fungi in the woods that surround us. Most start fruit in the middle of summer and continue right till winter.
We have so many different types it is beyond my ability to identify even a fraction. I can usually narrow down the family but with all the subspecies and regional variation I would never presume to say anything for certain. Some morphologies are super simple. For example Coral mushrooms:
We have a TON of different Boletes. In general these can be easily identified because they are ‘polypores.’ The gill formations we are so used to seeing in mushrooms:
-are absent and the underside of the cap is packed with a spongy porous flesh.
One polypore’s beauty is so singular and characteristics so unique; that I have no problem declaring the make and model of the Frost’s Bolete.
First off, they are bright red. We have many red mushrooms but these are easy to tell apart from the red topped Russula, because of the aforementioned lack of gills. These Russula all have white gills under the caps.
The stock of the Frost’s Bolete is like a Grateful Dead show, pretty hard to mistake.
Last year I only saw one or two small ones but this year, there was an explosion!
They even seem to be grouped in a line:
I have always been a forest walker. Since I was small, I had the privilege to spend hours alone in the woods looking, listening and learning from the beings that live under the forest bows. It has always been my haven. I have taken many lessons and often received guidance by simply sitting and observing the minutia of life.
From the mushrooms I was reminded again that life is not about following a path of expectations but about adapting to the situation I find myself in. When a mushroom fruits under a log it does not argue that its predicament is unfair or difficult. Rather it uses the log as fuel to grow and reproduce.
Mushrooms simply grow. Sideways, upside-down, crushed beneath dead wood, doesn’t matter they find a way.
Sometimes this pressure creates odd singularities, like these two mushrooms seeming to melt into one.
Too often I forget that it is the impermanence of life that unites us all. Every thing lives for a time, fruits and then passes on.
Sure, the scale of our lifespans vary.
From thousand year old trees to fruit flies that (thankfully) only live a few weeks but the fleeting nature of our existence should serve to give us pause. Mushrooms and Fungi in general are such fascinating beings, existing out of site for most of their life, quietly digesting the material around them. They fruit briefly and then melt away into nothingness.
They devour the decaying forest and for one spectacular moment they show off, for no one in particular. For me, there has always been something magical about it all.
Something that makes you want to believe in fairies. I’m still hoping to see a fairy. As long as it’s a happy fairy.
Maybe that’s why I’m nice to the mushrooms, I don’t want to anger off the fairy folk.
Be well and don’t piss off the pixies!
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