Friday, October 16, 2009
A Path Less Traveled
If I hadn't come to The Wayback to eat lunch I would have missed them. Not seen at a passing glance, but peering through the ivy or liriope or out from behind a fallen magnolia leaf, they are everywhere. Everywhere, that is, in the vicinity of the Wayback path. Just off the path. Not until I sat still and let my gaze fall where it would did I see them. Tiny white mushroom buttons at the ends of fine upright tan-colored stems growing in every instance from rotting magnolia seed pods. After the heavy rain of recent weeks and days, there lies a surfeit of fast decaying magnolia pods in The Wayback, thanks to the regal row of ten tall magnolia trees along the fence.
The stems first looked to be growing from pinecones and mulch chips, but closer inspection revealed the soft remains of a magnolia pod under every outgrowth. Are magnolia seed pods the only host for this particular bacteria? Why not pinecones? They are just as prevalent.
Whatever the answer, these delicate pinhead mushrooms that look a little like baby's breath flowers, are the ultimate example of personal responsibility. They do their work and achieve their beauty whether or not anyone comes to watch.