Back on October 21, 2009, the familiar white mushrooms sprouted en masse beneath the pines at the Farmersville-Jackson Twp. Joint Park. This year they stood beneath the same pines on October 5. There are fewer of them but they are as beautiful as ever and somewhat unexpected with the hot, dry summer.
I believe these are Amanita (but I am certainly not sure). They may be edible but probably not and I'm not that much of a risk taker. They're pretty enough staying right where they are.
While Mom walked along the track, I admired the mushrooms and thought I'd try to get under one and get some idea of a fungi point of view. This, then, is what a mushroom sees from its pine needle vantage point.
The ivory gills are very delicate and look as though they'd melt under a mere touch. Where the tops have opened, a seal-like membrane falls by the side like a wind-blown flag of truce. The cap, swollen beyond its natural size, has split.
Here's a view of that same mushroom from the top:
Others sprout nearby, too. Now we are facing cold nights - even freezing temperatures Monday morning - and I suppose these mushrooms will be short-lived. But while they are fresh, their tops remind me of lightly toasted marshmallows, held carefully away from the flame, left to brown slowly.
Before I leave, I lay a finger atop an Amanita and feel its cold, earthy skin. It is living but it is also as close to a corpse as nature gets. Still, seeing this family beneath the pines, with faith that they would see light again, even with the summer drought and searing days, I know that tomorrow always holds a fresh renewal.