A Separate Kingdom

The sudden warmth and recent rains fed the mycelia of several fungi, their “fruit” decorating the earth and trees along the trail.

It seemed the trees, stripped of their leaves, had donned sweaters and waistcoats, using the various fungi as buttons. Or maybe the fungi are badges of honor awarded the trees for surviving the summer’s drought.

This one looked like a trumpet, playing music from another world, or perhaps an ear for whispering one’s secrets to the fairies…

The truth-according-to-Western-science tells us fungi are neither animal nor plant, though closer kin to animals, having separated from animal origins and pursued their unique evolutionary path some 500 million years ago. They have been accorded their own scientific classification kingdom, separate from plants, animals, archaebacteria, eubacteria, and protists. A fungus can be microscopic or develop into an organism covering thousands of acres (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=strange-but-true-largest-organism-is-fungus).

Fungi break down the world and continually recycle her matter; they may be perceived as beneficial or destructive, offering a “Shiva” kind of energy for our world. Without fungi, we’d lack wine, beer, cheese and yeast breads, many medicines, drugs, and, of course, the ability to live on the planet. But they can also poison us and destroy plants and other animals we value.

They remind me of Good Witch Glinda’s question to Dorothy: Are you a good fungus or a bad fungus?

Perhaps, as with people, and that other unique kingdom known as “political candidates,” whether the answer is “good” or “bad” depends upon one’s perspective.

The temperature has dipped; cold winds do blow, and the fungi fruit has already withered and blackened.

Locally, that other kingdom’s inhabitants, the political candidates, are still very active, though I expect their noise and presence to recede, somewhat, by November 7th.

Happy Full Moon; peace and safety to all life along the hurricane’s path; and may the spirits of Halloween bless you with sweet surprises!

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11 thoughts on “A Separate Kingdom

  1. Amazing fungi you guys have…I’ve never seen so many! Really beautiful and I guess many are eatable…Many of them have extraordinary healing powers. They are a great deal more than just’ fungi’….Great photography as always K…Thanks for sharing them. Happy Full moon at the cottage! Peace and love to you all. I am stocked up and awaiting this unnecessary storm…I am sorry the dark ones felt so in need to creating further havoc at the cost of human lives! Time to be done with all of this. Have a wonderful full moon and Halloween to come…..Blessings…VK

  2. My word, what incredibly beautiful fungi you have. I did enjoy the one halfway up the tree.Your descriptions of them did make me smile.

    I always find fungi to be mysterious little creatures, they are all so unique. We have lots around here at the moment, but I don’t have the skills to pick them even though I am a huge mushroom fan. Have a wonderful Halloween Catherine.xxxxx

    • Thank you, snowbird! We hunt for morels in the springtime, and have edible puffballs along the trail, but otherwise, I’m not knowledgeable enough to discern what other fungi are edible and would rather not die from eating one that’s poisonous…but, like you, I’m fascinated by fungi and their surprising appearances. Thank you for visiting! I love your comments.

  3. There is something deeply satisfying about looking at a fungi. I don’t know why but I am drawn to them with a strange fascination. Now I know reading your account about these creatures 500 year old evolutionary process. What a magnificent collection you got here Catherine! I am sure the folks at Full Moon cottage are celebrating the full moon well! We had a clear view of the full moon on a crisp cold night. Definitely magic is in the air! With hugs from the other fungi & toadstool fan, Sharon

  4. I think we could start a Fungi Club! Thank you, Sharon, for blessing me with your visit and comments…there were so many distinctive fungi decorating the trail and trees last week: surprising and fun to see them popping up everywhere!

    Yes, the full moon woke us all up early this morning; it rises outside the east windows and circles around to peek into the west windows, right next to our bed, by 3:30 or 4:00 in the morning…I’m afraid my curtains aren’t quite heavy enough to block it out, but it’s so interesting to see the bright silver ribbon of river and the light and shadows play so clearly across the yard…I’ll be thinking of you enjoying it, too!

  5. I loved this post… the pictures were a pleasure, every one… And I enjoyed your view of the fungi. Personally, I like mushrooms… can’t remember a one I didn’t like… each with their own personality. It’s been a beautiful read. Thank you, Catherine.

  6. I’m not sure if you are on the Pacific coast, but there are some big, unusual mushrooms. I do love mushrooms but rather let the pros do the picking!

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