It started like this. A good friend of mine, whom I met when we taught together several years ago, is a biologist. And she has slowly corrupted me, I mean enlightened me, to the many wonderful things that the life sciences offer. My background was in chemistry, not completely removed from life sciences, but still quite a ways. So as I have watched her and her girls venture out into nature, I noticed her enthusiasm for fungus on her travels, or should I say fungi, since she has found more than one?
My choosing to write a post for my husband’s blog started as a joke, as Joseph and I continued the hike-a-thon that he and our daughter started this summer. This week’s adventure was to Roan Mountain State Park. To get to the many beautiful vista overlooks of the Appalachian Mountains we were on, we had to traverse through many wooded areas. Among the many dead hemlocks and balsam fir trees (doggone those woolly adelgid invaders killing off the trees), I noticed a bright red object at the base of a tree.
At first I thought it was a very late blooming flower because of the color, then I realized that it was fungi. It was an interesting color, so I took a picture. I then laughed, as I immediately thought of my friend. Which turned into several pictures during the day, as I was going to plaster my pictures on her Facebook timeline with my “ode to fungus”.
That led to several more pictures before I made the joke about “fungi” / “fun-guy”. From there it turned into a running joke all day, as my “fun-guy” pointed out all sorts of interesting things, which led to my “fun-guy” inspiring me to agree to write this post.
I can’t remember at what point in the afternoon it was, but I distinctly remember wandering down some trail thinking how much I actually enjoyed spending time with my “fun-guy”. He has been incredibly supportive and patient in my pursuit to further my education, and essential to our family running semi-smoothly in our day-to-day activities. Which is something he shares with those other “fungi”. Those mushrooms or molds or other forms of fungi are incredibly patient, as they await things to decompose for them to be able to flourish. They are also incredibly supportive. Without decomposers like these, you wouldn’t want to know what types of things you would have to wade through each day. And they do that to recycle nutrients we desperately need as life forms. They are essential to the day-to-day activities of far too many organisms.
Which wraps around to today’s topic, “Fungi”. Fungi (and my own “fun-guy”) can often be overlooked, and can all to easily become taken for granted. But we are so incredibly grateful they are there, doing their thing, because we wouldn’t be able to flourish into all we can be without them.