Mushroom a Day: #1

A chanterelle, I believe. Feel free to correct me, mycophiles.
A chanterelle, I believe. Feel free to correct me, mycophiles.

Thoreau, I believe, said “God made ferns to show what He could do with a leaf.” Perhaps, then, he made mushrooms to show the whimsy and art of decay.

I do know I spent a lot of time close to the earth yesterday. And you can take that both ways. Mushroom photography, more even than wildflower portraiture, carries you into the shadows of deep woods, down on your knees, not infrequently on your belly as if the photographer could submerge below the leaf litter where most of the subject fungus lives invisible, the admirer looking up from below at the small, odd, decorative part of this thready saprophyte that appears briefly above ground.

So if an apple a day keeps the doctor away, what will a fungus a day do for you? Come back over the next two weeks and see. (And also see if I can do a better job of daily blog posts than the past two hectic months have allowed.) Whatever happened to the Slow Road of the Silver Years of Leisure and Repose?

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Beautiful photo. I like how you can see the veins (that’s what I call them), because of the backlighting. wonderful work…….thanks to you, for getting on your knees, and belly, to bring us sights that most people don’t see, or take time to look at.

    take care………watch for snakes while so close to the ground……….