Chicken of the Woods… maybe?!

fungusontreeI could see this lumpy mass from my bedroom window – through binoculars it looked like a small dog’s head mounted like a hunting trophy. I know nothing about wild mushrooms, but this alien ruffle of orange and pink has shown me there’s strange beauty in the world of fungus (fungi?).

From my pretty pathetic attempts at identification, I think this might be Chicken of the Woods, which the internet assures me is one of ‘The Foolproof Four’ – those mushrooms that can be eaten without regret. I could pretend and tell tales of the best risotto I’ve ever tasted, but my love of the wild is not yet strong enough to conquer my fear of the gastric illness.

Instead, I will leave my mushroom to expand or wither, or whatever it is that mushrooms do as they grow old. She – for she is a she, just ask Sylvia Plath – looks far prettier on her tree than she ever would on a plate anyway.

We are shelves, we are
Tables, we are meek,
We are edible,

Nudgers and shovers
In spite of ourselves.
Our kind multiplies:

We shall by morning
Inherit the earth.
Our foot’s in the door.

From Mushrooms by Sylvia Plath (The Colossus and Other Poems)

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