Friday, August 28, 2009

Mushrooms and Summer Night Music

I know it's a little fuzzy; it was getting dark.

Last evening, my wife and I took a long, out-and-back walk in our favorite local natural area. By the time we were nearing our turn around point, dusk was coming on strong. However, just at that point, we came across this cluster of mushrooms growing astride the trail and the drainage ditch that bordered the trail. These images don't do them justice--they were strikingly orange-red in real life. They were also very small; notice the green acorn partially obscured by one of the larger caps in the upper center of the images. My best guess, after reviewing the images in Mushrooms of Northeastern North America by Alan and Arleen Bessette and David Fisher is that they are of the genus Hygrophorus, but that's a shot in the dark. I didn't collect any to try to do a more careful identification.

Not fuzzy but a little overexposed by the flash.
Summer Night Music

Last evening was cool here, cool enough to open the windows (vs. leaving them closed with the air conditioner running). It was also cool enough to snuggle in bed. So, we pulled-up the shade and opened the south-facing window in our bedroom, and we spooned for a while, my wife behind me, before we fell asleep. There was a gentle breeze, and crickets and katydids lent some background music. In our part of the Mid-Atlantic, the sky is usually bright with city lights, especially when it's cloudy like it was last night, so the leaves of the gigantic and ancient sycamore tree growing outside our house appeared in filigreed brocade silhouette against the matte-gray sky. The last thing I remember my wife saying before we fell asleep was, "This is just perfect."

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