When You Can’t Find What You’re Looking For

I’m in the woods where the deer roam, but instead of shed antlers, I stumble upon trametes versicolor

It’s a special kind of mushroom.

Trametes versicolor © Live with Flair

With all this gloomy rain, the forest floor erupts with various mushrooms and lichens. In China and Japan, scientists believe that a protein within this mushroom contains amazing immunity boosting agents including cancer treatment.

I’ve never before in my life ever written or spoken the words trametes versicolor.  What other things grow up in the mucky moisture of these woods that can heal things?

I see no shed antlers, but it doesn’t matter.  As I turn to walk home before the rain comes, I see the brightest yellow lichen.  I learn that scientists study lichen (since they have no roots and instead absorb nutrients from the air) to measure air pollutants, ozone depletion, and even metal contamination. 

Yellow Lichen

It’s a glorious world that can teach so very much.  When I can’t find what I’m looking for, I remember to sink deep into what’s around me.

I learn and marvel.

What marvelous thing did you find today?


The Ugliest Mushroom

I’m back in the woods for the first time all summer. 

As the sun sets, the children gather burrs to make the roof of a fairy house, and my neighbor and I discuss the invention of Velcro arising out of viewing these burrs under magnification.

The burrs hook and cling to anything near them.  Relentless, intense, and desperate.  I love the shameless audacity of a burr.  I need you!  I won’t let you go! 

“They’re just awful,” my friend reminds me“Just wait till the fall when you can’t get them out of your hair.” 

Meanwhile, mushrooms decorate the forest.  I remember believing that little gnomes lived within them.

My daughter finds this red one that seemed to appear overnight.  We take pictures as evidence.

Red Mushroom.  Home for a Gnome? 

My friend points out the ugliest mushroom we’ve ever seen.  It’s probably poisonous.

The Ugliest Mushroom

I kinda like this mushroom.  Awful burrs and ugly mushrooms.  Ugly:  repulsive and unpleasant.  That’s only one way to see them.  Even the ugly has something to give if you examine it the right way.  Burrs give us Velcro and this ugly mushroom catches the setting sun. 

It’s beautiful out here in the woods. 

Journal:  Yes, nature has some ugliness to it.  What’s an ugly natural thing?