Well kids, it’s been a pretty fruitful fall wild mushrooming season here in North Carolina, which may account for the lack of posts this past week. Rest assured, I will be putting up more posts on mushroom identification soon, but I ended up with a windfall of maitake and lion’s mane and have spent the better part of 5 nights cleaning and storing them, which put a bit of a drag on my writing schedule!
Today, I want to share a few key insights that I’ve gained from my wild mushrooming adventures. It is a rare thing to find something you’re deeply passionate about, and when I discovered wild mushrooming, it was like someone had snapped on the attic light and gone to town with the feather duster, clearing out a multitude of attitudinal dust bunnies and cognitive cobwebs. Anyhow, here are the top 4 things I’ve learned from wild mushroom hunting.
Yours In Fungal Fancy,
4 Things I Learned From Wild Mushrooming
Learning about fungi and their role in wild ecosystems has taught me countless things about nature. If I were to list all the weird stuff I’ve learned since I took up wild mushrooming, I’d have a book in short order. Today I am going to focus more on those big-picture things that truly changed my perspective about life, the universe, everything, and (of course) the number 42.
Life is Mysterious
Before I got into wild mushrooming, I was in a bit of a rut: I was working in the juvenile court system and had gotten myself into a very troubling mindset whereby I felt like everything was too predictable, too immutable, and life had lost a considerable amount of its zest and mystery.
Then, along came the mushrooms. At first it was just idle curiosity and a desire to know more about the natural world, and since I was living in the Pacific Northwest, mushrooms were an indelible part of the landscape. I looked for canonical resources that would tell me everything I’d need to know…and promptly realized that no such resources existed. Even the most authoritative guides on mushrooms frequently are at odds with one another, and the constant stream of mycological discoveries, while once daunting to me, became a source of excitement…because we, as a mycophilic collective, are uncovering new mysterious fungal behaviors all the time!
One example that springs to mind is the curious case of the underwater mushroom, Psathyrella aquatica. This strange little bugger is a classic cap-and-stem mushroom that, yes, grows in freshwater rivers, completely submerged. Which is just inherently strange. After all, fungi require oxygen to breathe and generally rely on air currents to spread their spores, and so the very idea of a mushroom growing underwater is…well…counterintuitive.
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