Thursday, April 24, 2008

Have Fungi

Scanned the forest floor for about an hour the other day. Maybe if we had to forage for food we would have better concentration and focus. I felt like I did when I found four of these guys growing near stumps. I also saw more wildflowers: jack in the pulpit, bellwort, an amazing stand of trillium. I don't know what combination of soil conditions, moisture, vegetation creates the right conditions for these mor(s)els--I guess that's part of their allure. Some say they come up with the mayapples. Others say look under poplars, or where bloodroot and blue cohosh grow. Near maples, walnuts. On the way home from the park, I tried a spot I had seen some years ago, where a pear tree used to grow. Found two giant ones, big brainy things, in the gravel on the side of the road. Catherine cooked them in some butter. The kids said "they taste better than regular mushrooms." They do. We're heading out tomorrow to try to find some more.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Spring Beauties

On the east-facing bank of Radford's Wildwood park, beneath a large exposed rock, grows an abundant patch of early spring wildflowers, the ephemerals--bloodroot, Dutchman's breeches, larkspur, toothwart--grabbing sunlight before the treetop roof, taking advantage of the moisture and soil nutrients of this time of year too. Yesterday, on a trip with the kids, we spotted some wild ginger and this trout lilly, a burst of color sprouting up through the brittle leaves. These spring beauties alway fill me with delight. Rachel Carson called it the sense of wonder, and it takes expression (however inarticulate) as something like "how cool!" Most likely that is what I'll post more of here: ephemeral wild things I come across with my kids or that fill me with a kid-like wonder too good not share.