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  • Writer's pictureCrone

Not a fungi to be around

Let me sandwich the bad between the good... if 'good' is an apt description for fungus-spotting. Yes, actually, it is.


So, good part one: I saw these.

Yellow fieldcaps.Pretty but not edible. And they lose the yellow as they mature.


I was happy to see them because I find fungi strangely thrilling. I want to know what's going on underground. What symbiotic relationships? What nutrient transfers? I want to know what feeds on them, if anything...


The bad is not the unanswered questions; the bad in the middle of this mushroom sandwich is that my father is unwell. Maybe an infection, maybe a stroke. I went to visit and my pre-Qatar catch up turned into a request for an ambulance and the ensuing wait. Only 45 minutes and the paramedics were wonderful.


I dressed dad - which was like putting clothes on a child, pushing arms through the sleeves, leaving the head sort of stuck behind the collar and having to tug the shirt down so his head could pop out and he could see. Putting on the socks and trousers, zipping them up as I held him so he could stand. Thank goodness for the gym and the physical work at the Reserve. Though I was not able, even with Kath's help, to manouevre him to the loo. His pain, his confusion, his fear.


He said to me that I must go to Qatar, do my work, stay out for the duration, whatever happens. He told me he was not afraid.


I feel detached from myself. My selves. The capable self that dressed him, making jokes, undaunted and the heart-wrecked empathising self and the scared child self... they've split into three and hidden away... leaving the me that types as a husk.


The me that types seeks a return to the bottom layer of the sandwich - crusty sourdough... or, rather, elf caps (I think) on an ash tree. The photos show the layers of moss and fungi and lichen as we move up the trunk.

This ash probably has die-back. But for the time being, it is home to so much life.






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