Sunday, April 17, 2011

when you least suspect it

 posted by Melissa

I was out at Levi's soccer game today in Ballard.  Seattle was covered with blue skies and big billowy white clouds.  Although beautiful, the clouds made it feel a good 15 degrees colder than it was when they blew on past, and the sun warmed you right through the fleece.  I walked directionless through Ballard after the game, looking for a place to get change for a bus, and then hopefully a bus stop.  My two youngest kids in tow, both whining about their own personal drama of the hour.  Whining loudly, non-stop.

Then suddenly the whining stopped. (???)

The first one I found, in the rain garden.
A park was spotted.  Just a little corner park, aptly named Ballard Corners Park.  It was quite lovely, with a rain garden, a cement couch and chair like you were in an outdoor living room and a fun playground.  Although it was enticing, when the kids first asked, I reflexively said, "No!!"  I could see more complaining in the near future, two kids more tired, more hungry...and one mom, with much less patience.

But they pleaded.  Don't they always?  And they both appeared to be genuinely connecting (rare) on this effort, so I caved.
The found mushrooms, just barely out of the ground.

To my delight, they remained happy for the next 45 minutes until Jamie got there to pick us up.

My real reason for sharing this little story is, of course, mushrooms.

As the kids were squealing with joy (for real, they were, I couldn't believe it), I was kinda zoning out for a moment when something caught my eye.  It was among the rocks in the lovely rain garden, and it looked a bit like the rocks.  Something inside must have intuitively known it wasn't a rock.  I moved closer and walked down into the dry water bed to take a closer look.  Sure enough, there was a mushroom.  But not just one there were at least 50 of them.  Some dead, turned totally black and decomposed.  Others barely up from the ground, looking like cone shaped rocks.  And many others, in stages between the two.

Decomposed mushrooms
There were patches of these mushrooms all down the rain garden. And once I observed for a while, I could tell that the black spots among the green leaves were where these mushrooms had once been.  I wonder if they are the kind we learned about in class, the kind that turn into ink.

We learned that the inky cap, as it is commonly known, can be picked and turned into ink.  Just put some in a ziplock bag for a few days and you'll have a bag of ink, that I think you can actually use.  Some people forage mushrooms just to make art with them.  

So, open your eyes and look around.  You just might spot some mushrooms in the most unlikely spot.  Makes me wonder, what else am I missing, simply because I am not looking for it?

And it makes me happy and grateful, once again, for this blog.  My eyes are open to so many new things, people and experiences than ever before.  Thanks for joining in the adventure with us!

What new things have you spotted?


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