What Grows in Dreary Places

After a dreary few days of rain and cool weather, we return to the woods for a walk.

I take my camera because after all this time, I finally know what to expect. The forest follows a predictable pattern: first rain, then a beautiful display of fungi. I can’t wait to see what I’ll find.

(I’ll pause here and thank you for continuing to read. I know it’s so strange to marvel over mushrooms. I know it’s weird to be fascinated by fungus. I’ve decided I love beautiful things that come from dark and dreary places. Fungi grow in dreariness. I love that.)

We find laetiporus, sometimes called “Chicken of the Woods” or Sulphur Shelf first.

Laetiporus or “Chicken of the Woods”

It spills from a tree like a humble offering.

Laetiporus Spilling From a Tree

But then, I find something so rare, that I can’t believe I’m seeing it. It looks to me like a little white pony rearing up her head.

Monotrop Uniflora or “Indian Pipe”
Ghost Plant in the Woods

This one is monotrop uniflora, also called Ghost Plant or Indian Pipe.

The forest never disappoints after a week of rain. I’m learning God doesn’t either after my own dreary seasons.

Fungi can only grow in dreary places. Maybe all truly strange and beautiful things do. 

I know it’s a little strange to be fascinated with mushrooms, but I am! Have you seen some great ones lately?

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  1. I love this thought….in fact I need this thought. After being in and out of the hospital with my son for 4 months it comes with a sweetness of answer to my questions. 
    Dreary looks out the windows and sees a world rushing forward to productivity and plans. Faith senses An all wise God at work and waits

  2. Fascinating! I love forests — they are mystic.
    Wish we had some rain down here in the Midwest to bring relief from the drought.

  3.  So well said!  You have such a great perspective from this hospital trial with your son! I love this last line that “faith senses an all wise God at work and waits.”

  4. As you were writing this, Son #1 and I were discussing the marvels of mushrooms as we cut up some beauties for shish-kababs.  We talked about how weird it is that people discovered they could eat something that grows directly from decay.  You'd have to be pretty hungry to decide you were going to stoop down a pick a mushroom growing out of manure and pop it into your mouth, but, oh, thank God someone did!