Monday, January 19, 2009

earthstars & angels

recently i've been reminded of a great lesson by these not so little fungi that are sprouting up in the woods around here where I daily walk the dog.

apparently these fungi, called earthstars have existed all along, but for some unknown reason I have never noticed them before.. but then I never used to see armadillos or coyotes either, and now I see them from time to time.. so who knows..

but the earthstars have reminded me that when we find something strange and/or beautiful and become intrigued with it, we may be moved to analyze the thing in an effort to understand or possess it. like the butterfly collector who loves butterflies, but destroys them in order to preserve their beauty, or like the person who picks a fragrant bouquet of flowers only to dispose of their withered, rotting, carcasses a few days later..

as it happens, while I was walking in the wood, I came across these curious growths in the sandy ground. they were large cup-shaped stars that seemed to be full of something akin to a thick chocolate pudding. they were so dense and succulent in their being that they seemed more like fauna than flora.. but I did recognize them to be some kind of massive decadent fungi..

as I ran across more of the growths, my curiosity got the best of me and I used my stick to uproot the unfamiliar oddities. I was looking for a point of origin. trying to define the thing. after uprooting two of them and while ripping apart the flesh to study the consistency of the thick moussey middle, it suddenly dawned on me that I was destroying the life of the growth just for my own amusement & pleasure. it is not correct to say it suddenly dawned on me, as I had some awareness of the consequence of my actions all along.. but it did strike me that for the sake of my curiosity alone I was willing to sacrifice the life of these unknown entities.

even after acknowledging this realization, I proceeded to destroy another of the fungi telling myself that the spores would be distributed and propagate anyway, so the destruction was of no real consequence. and while it is true that life goes on, and destroying swamp fungi is probably not a cardinal sin in the eyes of most.. the experience did bring to mind a truly relevant lesson for my spirit which is that an attempt to possess (apprehend/comprehend/analyze/control) something when violently applied inevitably leads to the destruction of the very thing desired.

and violence is a tricky thing. it is not always the blood and guts that one might expect, but sometimes comes cloaked only as a simple, thoughtless, imposition of will.

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