Monday, January 04, 2010

When Fallen Leaves Rise

We have had a serious case of cabin fever lately. Cloudy, rainy, foggy, and all manner of weather that is simply not conducive to lazy strolls down wooded paths. We hang out in front of the wood stove reading anything we can get our hands on, or playing word game after word game on Shockwave.com. Some of those games are utterly ridiculous and others are ridiculously addictive. Hours pass.
I notice that the cat is as bored as we are. We let him outside often, but don't let him go off of the deck. The yard has no fence, and Bonsai is not very good at remembering his limitations. So, he just sniffs the air to get a sense his world. He does have a very fine vantage point from the deck where he watches Western Gray Squirrels manically chase each other, or where he has a regular hissing match with a neighbor's cat that comes in the yard to flaunt his freedom.
On a surprising warm Saturday afternoon with sunny skies, I decided to take the cat out to the yard so he could explore his world from ground level. The first thing I noticed was this group of mushrooms. So, I ran into the house to get the camera, thinking I'd photograph all the mushrooms I could find.
I was suddenly on a mission, and it felt damned good! I called to Roger to come out and look for mushrooms with me. So the three of us (Bonsai, Roger, and I) went searching. It's an interesting thing hunting for mushrooms in the leaf and pine needle litter of winter. They give such great clues, pushing up through the hard ground, the soft wet leaves, the dark rich loam.
They are winter's beautiful flowering bodies with a rich array of colors, shapes, and sizes. They are tiny yellow and gargantuan mauve; they are fleshy orange and deliciously chocolate. They thrive on the very weather that drives us indoors, to grow and flourish. We were completely knocked out by their abundance, and ran around the front and back yards looking everywhere for them. Each find more impressive and exciting than the last. But most especially we simply loved finding them as they broke through the ground in their journey to disperse their spores. It's merely their cycle of asexual reproduction, but it's so incredibly sensual to see.

(Click on the top image. I made a little poster of all the mushrooms we saw in about 25 minutes in the yard.)

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