I am lucky. I live close to all the things that make life tolerable, and better, things that increase my overall happiness quotient. Restaurants – Thai, Indian, Korean, Vietnamese, vegan, vegetarian, pizza, sushi, sandwiches, and all variants of pub food. Breweries and taphouses. Cocktail bars and juice bars. Everything. Not least is the capitalism-free activity of the great outdoors. Across the street, I enjoy access to a park that has lived rent-free in my heart since the day I moved to this incredibly emerald city – Ravenna.
Literally, a ravine dipping over one hundred feet at its depths, one disappears from the city. The air changes and cools, retains moisture and all the sounds muffle out. Moss reigns with its queen lichen, creeping or draping over all limbs and pliable surfaces. Thousands of gradients of green explain themselves across the interior of the park. If you stay still long enough, you certainly will become mossy and collapsed into the connected canvas of it all.
The thing which, unseen, connects the multitudinous flora is mycelium, a vast underground internet snaking through the humus like neural pathways. The visible expression of this network are ubiquitous in size and shape, small and short-lived fruitbodies we call mushrooms. Heavy with decay and sopping with moisture, Seattle is a veritable investment bank of fungal activity. While we enjoy a great many edible varieties, most we see do not fall within that category (or else they just aren’t worth trying).
Ravenna Park is flush with mushrooms and my head is generally pointed downward in an attempt to glimpse a clutch of them. Here are a selection of fungi I recently encountered during a walk in my woods.