A Boulder Around the Seasons

A boulder perched at the edge of Hills Pond when I started the photo series. It became an island as the waters rose. Then ice linked it to land again. In spring, geese and ducks perched on its strong back. There were signs of trouble as algal bloom sullied the water and all the birds left.

Waiting unperturbed, the boulder bore silent witness to ducks returning as brilliant colors in shades of yellow, orange and red mixed with the greens. Though all of this, the boulder sat with perfect equanimity. It had me wondering whether I could be more like that. Probably not, but that I could appreciate (and hopefully remember) its still presence seemed to count for something.

A Bumper Crop of Edible Mushrooms

When I was out taking photos of mushrooms, I came across two people with a basket full of hen of the woods mushrooms that they found at the base of oaks. They also had a cloth bag full of honey mushrooms. I learned the number you can collect is limited in Europe so as to leave some for others. Here there are no such limits – They told me they had never seen so many mushrooms and would need to give some away to others. The woman explained that while books and online resources (like this one) can be helpful, the best way to learn which are safe to eat is to go out with a local expert acting as guide.

While fungi can have fascinating complexity, they also have cultural importance. A jade pendant (below) bears witness to the Chinese appreciation for fungi that are used in traditional Chinese medicine. The Maya carved wonderful mushroom stones. Mushrooms are used for their psychotropic properties in healing rituals. Fungi support the health of forests while keeping them from filling up with dead wood. They have been used to control insect pests and to clean up plastic and organic waste. No doubt additional uses will be found as we learn more about their roles in various ecosystems.