Saturday, July 26, 2008


It rained yesterday and last night, and the morning has been heavy with low clouds and the western version of humidity. The sun was little more than an idea when Duncan and I ventured out at 7:00 this morning to tromp across the wet grass at the park.

I am a mindful walker, careful with the diligent and tireless ants, the bumblebees who rumble over the clover, the few drunken butterflies, which lurch from one pocket of flowers to the next, sometimes falling rapidly to the earth before catching themselves and swinging back into the air. I watch the moths at night, for they too, despite their lack of color, are precious in their own way, especially when the moon dances across the papery wings. I try my hardest to step over them or steer around them, and work the leash to keep Duncan from plodding through them and scattering their secret endeavours to the winds. He is patient with me but does not care where his paws land or what wide sweeps his tail makes. It is busy work, this mindfulness, scanning the sidewalks and grass before us but this is when I often make my most-prized discoveries.

Mushrooms have erupted almost overnight. On the far side of the big willow I discovered an enormous wood-colored thing, a ship pushing through wild and grassy waters, her bow proud and tall, her stern tapered and dynamic. She was wide and heavy and I knew that given another damp night, would grow too large for her simple pedestal. Several ants crawled along her surface, manning her sails and steering her course, while a single captain of a fly flitted to and fro, barking orders and keeping its eye out for dangerous reefs and shoals. Duncan plopped down in the grass next to me while I spread out on my belly and told myself stories about the magnificent vessel.

On the far side of the park, at the whispy edge of field of succulent purple clover, two small mushrooms twisted and curled into the air quite near each other, their heads bent and tucked, their impossibly thin stems long and curling, like dancers draped in translucent white. Once again I laid myself flat on the grass at their sides and studied them, fiddling with my camera for the best possible angle, the most provocative lighting. They were wonderous and I imagined they'd twisted around one another all night, slowly pushing through the earth and grass, reaching out their armless bodies for one quick embrace before parting forever. The camera would not cooperate and the image I wanted never quite found its focus, so I fiddled and fiddled and rearranged myself, changed the settings, even attempted a delicate black and white but could not take a single picture of the lovers. I was fully prepared to stay all day if need be, but Duncan would have none of it. My mindfulness, it seems, has its limits, and that appears to be his desire for breakfast. With one graceless and terrible move, he stepped into frame, kicked his feet back, as though he'd just finished a Big Job and wrenched the delicate little things from the earth, parting them forever, scattering their broken bodies across the grass.

He snorted and looked at me as though he deserved a hero's praise. The problem was solved and need not be addressed again.


Greg said...

Many a perfect photo has been cancelled on account of canine impatience, I can attest to that.

Still the shot you captured of the SS Mushroom (if not Captain Fligh) is delightful.

(My friend, I have not forgotten the honor you recently bestowed upon me. I beg your forgiveness for the delay. I hope to post it tomorrow. My continued thanks to you...for that, and for another lovely post!)

Traci said...

That mushroom looks huge! What a great description comparing it to a ship. I could could picture it without the photo. Duncan cracks me up. No mistaking what was on his mind. :)