The forest for the trees

TaurusTreesA hike in the fall woods is always a sensual and philosophical experience.KatydidI was in a yellow light under oaks and beeches in an overcast sky, later speared through by shafts of sunlight.Yes, both the woods and I were speared. My eyes kept shifting from the whole to the parts. Walking over even relatively smooth trails still requires at least one eye on the path for rocks and roots and unexpected katydids. You can just see one of the animal’s tympana, or ears, on the top foreleg, just under the joint, here.Shroom1And of course you must stop, and catch your breath, which has run away from you, and turn around. I mean all the way around.Shroom2This Chicken-of-the-Woods, with its cascade of yellow and orange petticoats, wouldn’t have been noticed otherwise.

4 Responses to “The forest for the trees”

  1. 1 Vanessa Harmony October 22, 2014 at 8:06 am

    Wow! Where is it you are hiking that is so free of invasive vines? Beautiful.

  2. 3 sally wehner October 22, 2014 at 9:05 am

    I’m not familiar with :chicken-of-the-woods; what kind of tree is it growing on? Fantastic detail in your photo.

    • 4 mthew October 22, 2014 at 9:16 am

      Also known as Chicken Mushroom or Sulfur Shelf mushroom, Laetiporus sulphureus (sometimes called Polyporus sulphureus); it likes both deciduous and coniferous trees, living and dead; I didn’t take note of what kind of tree this one was (I hang my head in shame!). Range according to Audubon Field Guide: wide, E Canada to Florida, Midwest, Pacific NW to Calif.Choice edibility, takes like chicken. Inedible as it ages; causes allergic reaction in some; specimens from some trees, like eucalyptus (which run rampant in California), can cause digestive problems.

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