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Monday, July 26, 2010: The Weird Mushroom Lady

            I've always been a bit weird, even if I hide it in polite society. When I decided to do close-up photography, the usual shots of close-up flowers evolved into weirdness, especially when I discovered mushrooms and lichens (note: some very respectible people make their life's work photographing mushrooms, but it is usually their career work and they get paid).

         Back in Ann Arbor, I have a wildflower garden (my entire back yard) but also a moss garden. While building the moss garden, I feared I'd become forever known by the neighbors as that weird Moss Woman. I spent way too much time collecting the moss out of sideway cracks. I imagined the neighbors rolling their eyes when I came back from the cabin with large bags and bins of moss.

         Now my moss garden is established. Am I back to being normal? No, I'm morphing into the Mushroom Lady.

         My initial introduction to mushrooms came from boredom on the North Country Trail. The North Country Trail is wooded and mossy and full of ferns, but after the first few trips, there is little to photograph. One day, after days of heavy rain, the sun came out and warmed everything up. Voila---mushrooms. Mushrooms everywhere.

        Delighted with some new photographic material, I began a simple search for as many varieties and variations as possible. I still search for new variations, but somewhere along the way, the beauty of mushrooms has worked its way into my heart and taken a firm hold.

        It is somewhat embarassing to have a neighbor find me in the field by the road, or to have a trail-biker almost run me over, as I'm down on my knees and elbows, butt in the air.  Still, I haven't yet discovered the method for photographing mushrooms and ground lichen in a dignified way.

         Being at the cabin and finding the mushrooms out in full force seems to happen only once a year, and I become like a kid in the candy store. This was one of those weekends. The closer I get to nature, the more I notice and appreciate its beauty.

        Finding the  shiny-top mushrooms surprised me. It had rained earlier but that didn't account for the shine (I also found a shiny-topped purple---yes, purple---mushroom). Turns out there are mushrooms with a mucous or gelatinous topping.

       The last two I did identify, since I almost missed them on the trail. The yellow spindle coral looked like flower petals some animal had scattered on the ground. It took a second pass before I realized there were no yellow flowers in the woods, at which point I got down, moved leaves, and did a close-up investigation. The last one is Irpex lacteus, a coral fungi that grows down instead of up. It's found on the underside of dead branches, but when the branch fell off the tree, it landed jelly-side up, the orange-color catching my attention.

       And now I need to stop posting photos, before more people think I am weird.

Posted on Monday, July 26, 2010 at 06:41AM by Registered CommenterThe Skeptical Mystic | Comments1 Comment

Reader Comments (1)

Truly astoundingly amazing! Your photos are magical and whimsical.
July 26, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKass

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