Enchantment June 11, 2020 Number 11 – Free-footed

During a walk around the yard this week, I spotted a gang of mushrooms. They sprouted overnight in defiance of our grass. Still the lot of them looked a tad uncertain, small and grey, and after close inspection, they baulked identification.

I have a mushroom book very like the bird book of old called A Field Guide to Southern Mushrooms. Not on this particular day but so often curiosity is rewarded. How satisfying to categorize – a puzzle to piece.

When space exploration was reactivated last week it got me thinking about the non-stop wonder of all exploration.

Even for an examination of the smallest of universes, we can sign up – adopt a child’s point of view and go for it. There are worlds to scrutinize, for heaven’s sake. Astonishing to uncover the details, is it not? Bless be the tie that binds. It is all so enchanting – the unfathomable discovery of diversity that is.

Some might say they like it in their cave away from all that light. Blossoming is not for them, but I believe our natural tendency is to continuously and fearlessly open up like the fortunate child who never experienced traumatic warnings, never was altered in the name of the boogey man. I think many call it becoming reborn.

The common human-ness of yard exploration is a way to recapture the original intention of our sojourn. Mary Ann said it best when she first got language. She wanted to be free-footed in the grass. We all share the electricity of humming over a bowl of morning cereal before heading out free-footed into the day.

Sizzling heat, nests, bones, branches, dead things, flowering trees, water both stagnant and flowing, sand, rocks, cliffs, grapevines, baby things, ditches, bugs, snakes, and mushrooms! What to do with so many gratifying visions but love it all?

I remember a first encounter with a huge and extremely fairy tale-like mushroom. Kicking it over, I was compelled to smash it to bits with my bare little foot. What instinct prompts us to poke and prod?

Maybe it’s the first step of reverence. Even if it comes to foraging the mushroom for a divine dish, we are privy to learn what awe feels like and what veneration looks like as it plays out onto these tiny planets of life unto themselves.

My mushroom introduction was an auspicious occasion. My father spoke off-handedly to my little self about a tiny family living under a mushroom cap. I’m sure my mother, a fan of miniaturization, would have expanded the fable with details of tiny furniture and appliances. No surprise that a strong foundation was a set up for peculiarity or let’s say a penchant for mushrooms.

Since then I’ve investigated all fungi along my path. As a want-to-be mycologist, I discovered mushrooms are colossally pleasing in their variety:

tall and airy-thin,

short and chunky,

spotted,

striped,

ruffled,

hospitable,

unfriendly,

scary,

dark,

pale as a ghost,

freestanding,

clinging,

edible

and poisonous.

Stop. Are we talking mushrooms or people?

It appears that an intelligent pattern was pre-ordained involving the likes of an unbearably beautiful world. The diamond in the rubble is reverence for diversity.

What if we picked up the call, threw caution to the wind and heeded a mushroom metaphor?