A Separate Kingdom

The sudden warmth and recent rains fed the mycelia of several fungi, their “fruit” decorating the earth and trees along the trail.

It seemed the trees, stripped of their leaves, had donned sweaters and waistcoats, using the various fungi as buttons. Or maybe the fungi are badges of honor awarded the trees for surviving the summer’s drought.

This one looked like a trumpet, playing music from another world, or perhaps an ear for whispering one’s secrets to the fairies…

The truth-according-to-Western-science tells us fungi are neither animal nor plant, though closer kin to animals, having separated from animal origins and pursued their unique evolutionary path some 500 million years ago. They have been accorded their own scientific classification kingdom, separate from plants, animals, archaebacteria, eubacteria, and protists. A fungus can be microscopic or develop into an organism covering thousands of acres (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=strange-but-true-largest-organism-is-fungus).

Fungi break down the world and continually recycle her matter; they may be perceived as beneficial or destructive, offering a “Shiva” kind of energy for our world. Without fungi, we’d lack wine, beer, cheese and yeast breads, many medicines, drugs, and, of course, the ability to live on the planet. But they can also poison us and destroy plants and other animals we value.

They remind me of Good Witch Glinda’s question to Dorothy: Are you a good fungus or a bad fungus?

Perhaps, as with people, and that other unique kingdom known as “political candidates,” whether the answer is “good” or “bad” depends upon one’s perspective.

The temperature has dipped; cold winds do blow, and the fungi fruit has already withered and blackened.

Locally, that other kingdom’s inhabitants, the political candidates, are still very active, though I expect their noise and presence to recede, somewhat, by November 7th.

Happy Full Moon; peace and safety to all life along the hurricane’s path; and may the spirits of Halloween bless you with sweet surprises!


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