What on earth am I talking about, I can hearing you all thinking…..? Well, what a wonderful trundle I had last week and I didn’t realise this amazing organism existed until I met a lovely person from my village, Pip.
Pip had often liked my photos on the village Facebook page and one day she put up some of her own, of the fungi she’d seen and I was mesmerised by their beauty and wondered why I hadn’t seen them on my trundles. Pip messaged me to ask if I’d like to take a trundle with her for her to reveal this wonderful hidden world to my eyes and I jumped at the chance. What also sold it to me, was the fact that Scooby her Collie Dog would be coming with us 🥰…..😂
Pips mum had Parkinson’s and developed dementia. Her mum was a writer and apparently they came to see a talk I gave about my book and to my surprise Pip produced a lovely photo to prove it
I set off up along the snicket to meet her at the gates. I was a few minutes early so wandered round the churchyard, spying a squirrel watching me, watching him.
I’d never met her before, but as I approach our agreed meeting place , I saw her smiley face and felt immediately comfortable and safe. Her mum died not too long ago and I could see the sadness still naturally there in her eyes even through her smile …and, of course, I immediately fell in love with Scooby
Pip said we’d start off in the Churchyard…..”I’ve just been round there, and I didn’t see any 😳”……but Pips eyes were tuned into the undergrowth and it only took her a minute to find the first, the second, the third and more …and I’d followed the exact same route, passing them by. Such small individual specimens, camaflaged by the fallen leaves. Some fungi are around all year but Autumn is when most appear, sheltered and hidden by the falling leaves.
It was then I understood I had to look at the surroundings differently, through Pips eyes. We headed along the back lane towards the playing fields, behind which stands a wooden area with amazing ancient trees. It’s often where the children make dens out of branches discarded on the ground
So many different types,
many looking like coral from the sea
Pip then stopped at the ‘Mother Tree’….must have been 5-600 years old, but was dying so had the most stunning fungi hugging it’s ancient bark, making it’s demise look beautiful rather than sad….Pip wrote on one particular fungi with the tip of a feather telling me it was called ‘Artist’s Bracket’….the words will eventually fade, for more words to be written..you might be able to make out the faded script of ‘Mi Madre’, where she’d written before…❤️
All the while Scooby was leading us, turning round occasionally to make sure his herd were following and happy that we threw sticks once in a while for him to chase after..
Some have a milky sap appear from their coral like veins. So many are coral like without the colour but with a individual beauty all of their own
I began to feel worried about treading on them until Pip told me how the fungi were purely the fruits, like apples on a tree.
The Mycelium is the real living organism. The fungus has a huge network of roots, called mycellia, that permeate below the ground of the forest….… and the ‘fruits’ or fungi sprout up from the veins that lie beneath the ground.. One was found in America that was 4 square miles, bigger than the Blue Whale, earths largest mammal.
I wish the photo of the Puff balls had come out, along with Dead Mans Finger…but sadly they were too blurred🙄…as Pip gently squeezed the Puff Balls, wisps of smoke, almost like your own breathe on a winters morning, appeared….so unexpected.
Some were rubbery in texture, able to cling to their new found home better
Other, orange trumpets, rising from the leaf mulched ground beneath.
Scooby led us through the brambles and hanging branches where ‘ear like’ fungi sat perched on Elder
And fungi growing on fungi…..
I was beginning to flag a tad as we came to the end of the wood….I’d lost all track of time, having forgotten my phone so was quite astonished and a tad confused as the sun was beginning to set
We’d ambled, chatted and laughed for over 2 hours about her mum, memories, anything and everything. I could feel the sadness in her voice, but a contentness as well as she was doing what she loved most and I was sharing that experience with her.
Wandering amongst the undergrowth, where I’d never thought to look before, a whole new world appeared right beneath my feet, that I’d never taken much notice of before, not because I didn’t like it, I just hadn’t known it was there. Pip told me sooo many things, facts and information about fungi, trees and nature I never knew before, and even though most were quickly forgotten just to know them for a few fleeting moments was enough.
I suddenly came over totally exhausted and sadly had to say I’d had enough
As we said our goodbyes, the sun just beginning to set, we saw the stunning sight of a white barn owl in full flight, soaring high in the sky, the setting sun’s rays lighting up it’s wings …. …and as Pip said in a piece she posted later:
“’That’s Mum‘ I said. ‘Oh most definitely’ Wendy replied.
Thankyou, thankyou, thankyou Wendy. I felt more useful and happy today than I have in a long time. ❤️”
I’ve always be of the mind, that when someone close dies and they become a memory, that you should scoop up all the nice thoughts and memories and lock them in a treasure box. Every now and then, open the box and the light will shine will all those lovely thoughts and smiles. But never keep it open for good as the memories float around and the mourning continues unabated. Keep it locked, live your life and when the need arises unlock the key to relive them once more. That way you keep your loved one happy and their memories safe as they will always be with you and want to share your highs and lows and they will always show their presence in some way, some people see them others don’t….for me they manifest in my faithful Robins…..
And I trundled home totally exhausted, but utterly content with the adventure I’d just had….
One last photo before my camera too gave up “battery exhausted” just like mine…