The Mushrooms Have Disappeared!

No joke. They are gone!

Yesterday, just yesterday, I shared about the delicate mushrooms that seemed to have colonized the area of my garden near the water pump. They came from out of nowhere, as from outer space. Their lacey cups sat atop slender stalks no more than four inches high – dozens and dozens of these had appeared suddenly two days ago as if that particular square footage of mulch contained their favorite food or just the right conditions for growth. (Never mind the rest of the mulch in the garden complaining Hey! Something wrong with this hood?!)

funky mushrooms 2

Today after dinner, Kaileena reported that they were GONE! Not pekid, not fallen, GONE!

funky mushrooms gone.jpg

Gone, like a moment in time. Gone, like the countless moments we do not take a picture of. Gone. There is no way back to those moments. Most of the time, only our memory holds the record of them, and even that record can be sketchy as time goes by. Will I remember the many moments of today? My mom and Kaileena playing Dog-opoly and laughing because of whose turn it was to go not to jail but to the kennel! Kaileena finding the first egg (the first egg!), soft-shelled and slightly broken, and the excitement in her voice, “You have to come see!!” Mom doing her first mobile deposit. The blue-tailed skink trying to hide under the hand shovel in the onion bed and quickly ditching that plan and heading for a hole.

Gandalf comes to mind, Gandalf standing on the bridge shouting to the Balrog: “You shall not pass!” The image is strong and the analogy imperfect, but the finality is inescapable.

You shall not pass this way again.

The child is only two once, only six once, only ten once. When you pack up certain toys in a box or give away the size clothes that don’t fit any more, you know that chapter is over. Graduation can hit hard. Cross-country relocations even harder.

The lilies are finished, the beets are harvested, the lettuce is gone to seed. I bought a package of romaine today.

But there is a brighter way to see it, which we all know through experience if not verbatim: To everything there is a season. It’s been a long time since I read the first eight verses of the third chapter of Ecclesiastes.

There is an appointed time for everything, and a time for every event under heaven –

A time to give birth and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted; a time to kill and a time to heal; a time to tear down and a time to build up; a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance; a time to throw stones and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace and a time to shun embracing; a time to search and a time to give up as lost; a time to keep and a time to throw away; a time to tear apart and a time to sew together; a time to be silent and a time to speak; a time to love and a time to hate; a time for war and a time for peace.

We could add

A time to play our hand and a time to fold; a time to joyfully greet and a time to tearfully say good-bye; a time to praise and a time to scold; a time to travel and a time to stay put; a time to feast and a time to diet; a time to spend freely and a time to pull the purse-strings tighter; a time to bring chicks home and a time to get rid of roosters; a time to use sheets to make a bed and a time to use sheets to make a barrier between the earth and the mulch; a time to take photos and a time to just enjoy the moment because

You shall not pass this way again.

The beautiful side of this reality is that there are so many wonderful moments. Yes, we have to leave yesterday behind, but in the new day, if we keep our eyes open, new flowers will bloom and be glorious, new friends will come into our picture and brighten our world, new chances will arise for forgiveness and reconciliation, new gifts will be given and received, wrapped or unwrapped. There will be new restaurants to try, new books to read, new recipes to make, new babies to hold, new pets to nuzzle, new places to explore, new songs to sing, new words of kindness to be sure and say, new ways to remind those we love how much we love them.

I’m not sure I’d be on this track right now if it weren’t for those otherworldly mushrooms that appeared mysteriously. I’m not sure I’d have seen the mushrooms if the sunflowers had not first caught my eye…

Rocks Leading to Mushrooms

Lately we have been collecting rocks for the stream bed that will run through the woodland garden next to the chicken coop. It’s going to be wonderful. This is where the water flows…


And this is what the stream bed looks like so far. I have never made such a thing before, but I hope it’s going to work. After Fred and I puzzled together many flat rocks, we sprinkled fine crushed rock in between, hoping that when the water comes, those little ones will glue together the bigger ones. Time will tell.

stream bed.jpg

That might not look like a lot of rocks, but it is. This length is less than half of the full length of the winding stream. So now, whether in the car or walking, I am on the lookout because I need more. It turns out there are a lot of rocks along the side of my road and in my woods, many more than I ever paid attention to before.

They were not delivered here, they were collected. That is, we collected them. The crowbar came in handy for some, but most were just pick-upable. This collection task was made far easier by this attachment on the back of Sandy’s car. Look how many we fit on there. Beats a wheelbarrow.


The bigger and rounder rocks will go around the coop fencing on the outside as one more barrier against predators, and the flatter rocks were destined for the stream bed. We made four trips up and down my gravel road, which is about ¾ mile till you get to the paved part and has mostly woods along the side. We made one trip into the woods too and got these mamas. I dare the foxes and the raccoons to get past them!


I find the rocks so beautiful too. These are two found recently.


First glance, eh, okay, rocks. But look closer.



The marbling through the, I don’t know, what is it, granite? It’s intricate and delicate and unique. And just sitting there by the side of the road, tucked into the dirt or surrounded by last year’s fallen leaves, ignored and unappreciated till now. Here I come, looking where I don’t normally look. Oh, there’s a beauty! Look at that one!

This evening, same deal, walking along the road, glancing side to side, beauty here, beauty there. The white ones especially catch my eye because I imagine that after they have found their perfect spot in the stream bed, they will glisten when they are still wet after a rain or sparkle under the light of a full moon. Can you imagine that?

In the woods along the side of my road is something else I would miss if I were looking only down at the road or straight ahead: mushrooms! I don’t eat them, not even the kind you buy in a store, so they are not really on my radar, but up they pop through the damp leaves in random places at this time of year. We’ve had a lot of rain, and that helps.

I was not looking for mushrooms. I was looking for, admiring and delighted to find rocks! Keep your eyes open. It’s no surprise that when we are attentive to what’s amazing and wonderful in the world, we will see more that is amazing and wonderful. As happens in countless ways every day everywhere, good begets good.

This perfect white specimen looks like it belongs in a textbook. How perfect is that? And all those funny bumps on top – I wonder if the patterns that the mushroom bumps make are like fingerprints, no two the same. Would have to be.


Coco is not overly interested. It doesn’t move, it doesn’t smell like meat, it hasn’t been peed on like that teeny pine tree she spent many minutes fixated on just prior to this find. In case you were wondering, that pink pug tongue does occasionally fit into her mouth.

mushroom with Coco.jpg

This next one seems inside out, maybe confused about how that top part is supposed to be shaped. But maybe it has more confidence than that, even a mild measure of chutzpah. Look at it taking great pleasure in expressing its individuality, reveling in its few days of glory and especially pleased to have been discovered. No other mushroom like me, be sure of it! No curves like mine, baby!