This morning, I have the treat of walking and talking with a friend. We meet at her house, take our four dogs for a walk and return to her house on the pond to use the paddle boards on the glassy surface in the peaceful morning under a blue sky. On the walk I take no pictures. This is a different activity. I try, sometimes, to take a picture if I’m with someone, sharing my walk. But I can’t. Because nature is speaking to me in a different way when I’m alone, when I can focus entirely, freely, unselfconsciously on the plants or the landscape. I am in a meditative state, I am receptive, effortlessly receptive. And I can take my time. I can kneel and fuss around and find angles and not feel hurried, as I do when someone is with me. Taking pictures on my walks is truly a solitary act by necessity. So, after we paddle and I return home, I cross my meadow with buckets of water to water the flowers. And I go to the river and fill the buckets again, and everybody gets a drink in the hot sun. When I go back through the field to the lawn, I stop to water a garden, and I am feeling as if I’ve neglected something nourishing and essential. I am going home empty handed. I look down, and in the grass are the hosts of little parasols, the fungi I find so whimsical and lovely. The Pleated Inkcaps. The little beings that grow in the wet grass overnight and vanish in a day. A day. A day is all we ever have, really. This day. I go inside with my treasure, spirit revived by the little plant, and the evidence I’ve made of its existence.
“Commonly referred to as the Pleated Inkcap, and sometimes as the Little Japanese Umbrella, Parasola (formerly Coprinus) plicatilis is a very delicate member of the inkcap group of fungi. It occurs in short grass.
This is one of the many short-lived grassland fungi that appear overnight following rain; the fruitbodies develop, expand, shed their spores and decay within 24 hours and by the next morning there is usually no evidence of them ever having existed.”
My publisher e-mails today with news of my book release party to take place at Trident Booksellers on Newbury Street in Boston on August 1, and I’m very happy with this date and time and place. Today I spent a good amount of time preparing to run the Play Lab next week at the IWWG Summer Conference at Muhlenberg College. I am beginning to think about the walks I will take there every morning, that I’ve taken there for years now. It is a habitat I will love to return to.