Mushrooms from Outer Space

The sunflowers caught my eye. Coming down the driveway late yesterday afternoon, I had to stop the car in front of the garden and go look at them. Coco had come along for the ride and hopped out to go have a sniff around too. Look, one of the flowers is even (sadly) fallen over, yet it still turns its face toward the sun! What a lesson in that alone!


Naturally I can’t just take a picture of the sunflowers and then get back in the car. I remembered the tomatoes, and decided I also had to quickly check them. When I got there, I noticed something strange. All the rain we have had brought visitors of an otherworldly kind. This little colony of mushrooms was restricted to the area near the water pump, on the way to the tomatoes, where for some reason I am content to leave the hose a mess.

Check it out! These little volunteers are so delicate.

funky mushrooms 2

Forgive me, I just watched The Princess Bride (a thing to do with a ten-year-old visitor), so in my head I hear:

Inigo: The mushroom heads look just like *lace*

Fezzik: I think they come from outer *space*

I could easily crush them, easily overlook them, easily dismiss them. Instead I have forgotten about my car left in the middle of the driveway (and the ten-year-old in the car), and find myself fascinated, entranced, intrigued.

Where did they come from? Why are they here? Why are they only here and not growing up from the rest of the mulchy areas in the garden? Why do they cup their heads like that? Do they serve any purpose? Will they be gone tomorrow?

funky mushrooms

Sometimes I ask myself how much I miss, how much beauty exists all around me that I never see because I am too busy with this or that. Today I did not have to ask. Today did not lack for breathtaking beauty. I got my fill. We visited a friend in Williamsville, in the western mountains of Virginia more than an hour beyond Staunton. Behind her house is this incredible mountain stream. I don’t know the words rich enough to describe it.

mountain stream (2)

Kaileena was not the least concerned with descriptions — she found it to be a perfect natural water slide!

mountain stream K

My adventurous 83-year-old mom walked a hundred yards or so along a not-so-easy mountain path to get to the not-so-easy stone steps leading to a rock to sit on in this little pocket of paradise. Bravo, Mom! She doesn’t want to miss anything either.

When you think a thing is very cool, it’s even cooler when someone else thinks so too. We all were awestruck at the swimming hole and waterfall. We listened to that water rushing over the rocks the way it’s been doing for countless generations. How many kids have slid down that rock the way Kaileena did today? How many beamed like she did every time she landed in the froth?

mountain stream K3 (2)

Rivers like this don’t get old or tired. The water keeps coming, keeps flowing, keeps rushing. Kids keep having fun. Sunflowers keep turning toward the sun. And mushrooms have landed from outer space!

You think the day has given you enough and you are grateful. But it is not finished. On the drive back we watched a mother wild turkey and her two little ones prance across the road in front of us. Many adorable black calves walked closely to their mothers in the green fields of the farms we passed. A raccoon did not see the danger of dawdling along the shoulder of the road. And just as I turned into the driveway, two deer leaped gloriously within our field of vision. Kaileena let out a breathless Ohhhh! as she watched them bound into the forest. I hope she remembers today.

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