Persistent Purple Polypores


I confess I don’t do the wood work I once did to bring in a winter’s worth of firewood. I have taken to buying my wood (from Rob Cluxton) and adding a cord or two on my own from what ends up on the ground of natural causes.

But there were two standing-dead trees that taunted me every time we made the pasture loop, jeering that “a real man wouldn’t let easy wood go to rot.” But I gave up dropping standing trees some years back after being nominated for the Woodsman’s Darwin Award.

So I hired a hit job. Ben Zimmerman of Floyd Farm and Home came out and made quick work of two oaks, mostly now stacked and under black plastic just behind the house for next year’s January heat.

My son-in-law, whose arms are the size of my legs, was willing to help me monster-maul the stove lengths–some 20 inches across–into pieces even I could load into the truck.

grayMagenta175As we were in the process of busting these stout sections of oak, I noticed that the fungi had some some attractive work as they took their share of my future firewood. What a lovely color–not purple exactly. Help me with this color. Rose-violet? The pinkest of these colors according to Hex color: grayish magenta. 

You don’t see this color so often in January, and only in garden flowers mostly in other seasons. I’m thinking Dianthus, the small “pinks” of summer pastures.

So I claimed a minute or two to take in the beauty that nature gives us, even in the act of taking dust to dust. You can see a larger more detailed image here. 

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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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