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  • Daniel Francis

Among us

These wet summer days provide our yard with much-needed rain. Great for our plants and grass, this moisture can also be a catalyst for fungus, particularly mushrooms. Also known as toadstools, they are curiously fast growers. Seemingly overnight, their umbrella tops stretch out supported by ribbed gills. Alice enjoys the edible kind; I'd rather eat pencil-tip erasers. ✏

Fungi get their nutrition from metabolizing non-living organic matter- meaning, they break down and "eat" dead plants just as a compost pile does. Isn't it amazing- the opportunism of nature? Nothing is wasted.


As a child growing up in Maryland, I had my summer belly full of crabs, only later to understand they are bottom feeders. Vultures (and eagles, when not fishing) are notorious for feasting on roadkill. And how many a college student, after too many late-night coffees, discovered penicillin in unwashed mugs.


So don't be surprised at what is growing in and around you these days. Perhaps you've cultivated a new skill or become more appreciative of old talents. Maybe the detritus of this disease will have become fodder for deeper concerns and higher values. I hope so. Let's take this opportunity of staying at home by becoming more at home with ourselves. When you think about it, is there really a better personal outcome?


Finally, here are some photos of our yard. And yes, the mushroom above is from our yard, too!


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