Wednesday, October 25, 2006

A Walk in the Woods

Half term - and an ideal opportunity for the Hodmandods to take a walk in the woods; even though it was raining, hard, and the ground was soft and waterlogged underfoot.


The bracken is dying now and the trees are ridding themselves of this year's clothing. So 2006. So this year. Time for something new. So they shake themselves naked; and their rags flutter in fragments to the ground and form a temporary mosaic.


There is still a trace of green there, still some brown. Still some rich russets and some glossy auburns. Autumn. Like a vixen before winter. Held for a moment in this photograph - each ribbed leaf, each torn edge telling a tale: where insects drilled, where birds pecked, where the wind blew one against the other. Each one a miraculous little factory of memories in its layer upon layer of cells. This was 2006 - spring and then summer - and soon it will be gone.

We came across a suspended cycleway which reminded me of the first Ray Bradbury story I read about hunters transported back in time to a primeval forest. For a while we dawdled along it - immersed but apart.



We were looking for fungus: it is Hodmandod Minor's big fascination. From an early age he has loved to look at pictures of toadstools - we used to buy him books on mushrooms and toadstools when he was still a very young child and then find them still open on his bed while he slept. Autumn is a good time for them but maybe this year we were a little late. People had obviously been before us; we found stalks and overturned cups strewn alongside the path as though we were exploring the field of a battle. So we went off the path and further into the forest where the rain rattled off the trees, gathered into small pools on branches and thudded onto the ground beside us. Deciduous forest gave way to plantations of conifers and the ground became softly padded with the luxurious pile of millions of old needles. Above us the trunks of young trees moved gently apart with each gust of wind like the ribs of a sleeping giant.



Eventually we came across some Fairy-Ring Champignon in a broken circle.


Then on a bank of decaying wood and mud this bracket-shaped fungus which I think may be Oyster Fungus (rather than a proper bracket fungus since it has gills rather than a poroid undersurface)


and two stink horns exuding a glutinous stinking glue - which is attractive to insects.


According to the Stinkhorn homepage this fungus hatches from an 'egg' and relies on insects to spread its spores.

'I bet you say something disgusting about this on your blog,' said the sixteen year old Hodmandod Minor as we examined it. But of course I won't. I leave that to Linnaeus who gave it its genus if not its species...


Phallus impudicus.

11 Comments:

Blogger Susan said...

An exquisite idyl, Clare, and then the snap back to reality! Isn't it wonderful how our children really do manage to keep us 'grounded' on this earth.

Thu Oct 26, 12:37:00 am  
Blogger Lee said...

Lovely walk: I felt I was there with you. And I'm going to show the post to my younger two, who will appreciate the fungal varieties, especially the last!

Thu Oct 26, 09:38:00 am  
Blogger Debi said...

mushrooms? did someone say mushrooms? Magic ...

Thu Oct 26, 12:51:00 pm  
Blogger adrian the percussionist said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Thu Oct 26, 02:08:00 pm  
Blogger adrian the percussionist said...

I'm getting concerned with these coincidences. Not only am I regularly confused with someone else called Adrian, but I seem to have a very similar name to a common relative of phallus impudicus:

http://www.mushroomexpert.com/
images/contrib/
robertson_phallus_hadriani.jpg

Thu Oct 26, 02:15:00 pm  
Anonymous marly said...

Glad that you have put on your Hodmandoddling shoes and abandoned the e-bubble wrap. Soon people will send you e-pumpkins to skewer and light, so it is good that you have gasped at a little fresh air.

Glad you liked all the Beamishness, by the by.

Had a giddy moment and almost said something naughty about phallus impudicus, but I was quite frightened of being drummed out by H/Adrian the Paranoid and then Removed by the Author.

Thu Oct 26, 05:58:00 pm  
Blogger Tammy said...

Beautiful there! LOL at your son! Tell him I was thinking it ;)

Fri Oct 27, 01:28:00 am  
Blogger adrian the percussionist said...

For the avoidance of doubt, the post was removed by the author because originally something wouldn't fit in the space available, protruded to the right so that most of it was invisible and hence had to be chopped up into small pieces to be made to fit. I'm referring to the URL, obviously.

Fri Oct 27, 09:18:00 am  
Anonymous Khylan Seriphyn said...

I like the first photo. Very tranquil and dream like. It looks like a beautiful place to sit and let your mind free.

Fri Oct 27, 03:00:00 pm  
Blogger Jan said...

I agree with Susan re how our children " ground" us.When they were teenagers, we " grounded" them ( in another sense, of course....and I certainly grounded mine..) but now they're grown, they keep us rooted to the earth, to its warmth, to its fabulous changes.....with their lives and their plans, their hopes and dreams..

Fri Oct 27, 06:14:00 pm  
Anonymous Galaxy said...

Such a different landscape to my part of the world. It seems like a story book, especially with those fairy rings. The evocative writing helped too.

Sat Oct 28, 01:31:00 pm  

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