Sunday, October 26, 2008
Little wonders like this
...are the reason I haul myself out of bed every morning and go tromping through the woods, even when it's cold, or pouring rain, or I'm so tired I'm dizzy. I came across this spectacular fungus yesterday. It had popped up through the wet leaves after a heavy rain, like a surprise lily on steroids. It's about 5 inches across, and the cap--if that's the right word for such a blossom-like structure--is very thick. I didn't have a camera with me when I first saw it, and the shriveling process was already beginning when I took the photo this morning. Yesterday it was a more brilliant orange, and the flesh was so full of moisture, it glistened.
I get such joy out of a little unexpected beauty like this. I understand the thrill naturalists feel when they find a long-sought rare plant or animal, but I get as much pleasure from the things I stumble upon. There's a delicious mystery about a living thing that just appears, makes itself known, and departs. It's proof of the roiling life that surrounds us, unseen, all the time.
Speaking of mysteries, I have no idea exactly what this baby is. I don't recall ever seeing anything quite like it, and a fungi ID search has turned up nothing--though I did find this great site, which has dozens of beautiful photos. If there are any mycologists out there who can put a name to my little friend, please email or leave a comment.