Mushrooms — The not-so-buried treasure of the forest.
I've always been a nature lover. I'm intentional with time outside but inconsistently, and never for extended visits in the same place. Over the last couple of years, my family and I have spent most of our free time escaping to the woods. Blame it on the times, but the slower pace removed from the busyness of the city is what our souls need.
When you know a place, subtle changes you might otherwise miss become exciting new developments, so it is with our home away from home nestled in the ravines of the Tunica Hills.
Change is constant in the woods. Leaves turn with the seasons, seedlings sprout, fern fronds unfurl, and berries sprinkle on branches, but the stars of the show in these woods (as I've learned) are mushrooms.
They pop out in bold colors from a blended green-brown backdrop. In bright yellows, deep reds, pinks, oranges, purples, and more, they catch the eye like sparkling gems catch the light. A few rainfalls and temperature changes create a fresh rainbow-colored crop of these little ground jewels.
When I think I've seen all those woods have to offer, a new-to-me species peeks out from an old log or patch of moss. I fall deep into the gills of the underside, into the ridges and folds, into the textures and colors that offer themselves so generously.
When you see a mushroom, it's just the tip of the iceberg of an underground mystery. The mushroom or fungi we see is the above-ground fruiting body of underground mycelium that connects and supports the forest's life in powerful ways scientists are still discovering today.
These forests sustain the exposed life we know and are maintained by this complex hidden network. A network that chooses to peek into the light in the most magical little expressions possible.
Mushrooms are the Easter eggs of the woods, nature's scavenger hunt for anyone curious enough to take her up on it, a not-so-buried treasure.
Whether you forage them for food or medicine, beauty or otherwise, they are potent reminders that, like with almost anything, there is much more than meets the eye. Worlds more. We only have to dig to discover.