Saturday, December 11, 2010

Mushrooms, Mycelium, & Watercolor

The week before Thanksgiving I found a wonderful array of mushrooms growing in my backyard. Browsing at Box Office Video that evening, I found Know Your Mushrooms, & woke up to the miracle of mycelium.

The next day I went with a friend to Samuel P. Taylor State Park. My newly sensitized eyes saw mushrooms everywhere. I took lots of photos & headed off for the library.

I'd heard of Paul Stamets' Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World & was eager to read it. Now I'm profoundly excited & grateful. Mushrooms everywhere, their mycelium silent, secret, & hidden until they erupt their fruiting bodies, are keeping us all alive. They can even undo the devastation that humans wreak on our habitat.

Maybe there's a realm of mysticism I'm just stepping into....

I contacted Paul Stamets & got his permission to run his words around my images. I don't know if this will be a big long series, or just a quick study. But for now, I'm amazed & I want to tell the good news, spread wonder & thanks for these amazing benefactors!

This is the first painting, a small watercolor study, about 9 x 9". Stamets' words: Mycorrhizae can transport nutrients to trees of different species. One mushroom species can connect many acres of a forest in a continuous network of cells.