Here and gone and still here

A couple of weeks ago, I was throwing a load of recycling into the condo community bins, and I was really tired. I sat in the car for a moment after I emptied the load, looking blankly out through the windshield.

A point of light on the ground attracted my eye. Something big and white and round.

A mushroom cap – bigger than a fist.

I got out of the car and walked over to it.


Look at that beautiful skin. The way it catches the light. The visible expansion of life.

I love mushrooms. They are an outburst of another world. They spring from this dark underworld in a beautiful form, one that evolves as it goes through the reproductive process.

I got down on my knees to peer at the underside of this huge white baby. That’s also a joy, because what’s below is as beautiful as the cap’s cover:


Just a whispered hint of the gills are showing beneath the veil – see them, at that little rounded corner at the top of the stem?

As the mushroom opens, it will shed the veil and release the spores.  More beauty will be revealed through the gills.

I took a series of photos in April 2008, when I spent two afternoons on my belly in the dirt to photograph the beauty of mushroom gills when the sun comes through them. Here’s one:

mushroom gills

Ever since, I look at every mushroom for its potential beauty underneath.

So on October 5 when I saw this big white mushroom, I made a mental note to come back to the recycling bins and photograph it again.

The days of October passed too quickly. When I went past there today, the mushroom was gone.

Still, I’m glad I took those minutes out of a too-busy day to stop, get out of the car, and admire this mushroom.

Now, whenever I look at that patch of dirt under that tree, I will see a point of light.

Today’s penny is a 2007, when I moved to North Georgia and discovered the beauty of mushrooms.

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