Wednesday, September 20, 2006

This has been a week for mushrooms!

When Jon and I first stepped onto the Pinch-'Em-Tight trail, we spotted these hippie mushrooms (one literally thought of those gnomes, and of all those psychedelic drawings from the '70s). They were squat little things, the flesh like rich butter and the tops an unusual orangish-red speckled with pale spots. You could imagine a gnome furtively sawing the tops off to use as hats.

We also saw mushrooms that literally looked like pancakes (not the best thing to see if you're a hungry hiker), down to the spots that looked like the bubbles that rise to the surface when pancakes are almost done cooking. There were shockingly orange, spindly mushrooms, plain dirty-sock colored ones, tiny ones, huge ones. There was even a mushroom that looked like a delicate ironstone cake stand, complete with drips of frosting curling off the edges. I had to stop and examine it!

Here in Lexington I've seen two fairy rings--one that spanned a twenty-foot front yard. It's hard to imagine that we are treading an organism that large--who'd have thought of fungi spreading so far underground?

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