Microcosms: The World Under Our Feet

Nature // September 05, 2017

Juicy Fruits

So I went down to Devil’s Pool in early August to see a clean-up crew at work.  It’s hard to keep your eyes on trash when, as you get close to the stream, you see a fallen tree with little candy yellow sprouts forming on top.

Flashback to days at the movies when I was a kid, sharing a box of Juicy Fruits with my sister. I really liked the yellow ones. After a couple of chews, if I took it out to look at it (a thing kids will do), it looked just like these fungi, though I’m guessing it tasted better.

I don’t know if I’ll ever know the name of this fungus, but I know its plan. Like so many of the little growths and creatures that live below our knee-level, it will slowly take what it needs out of the tree stump, make a life for itself until it gets dried or iced or washed away, and lay the seeds of a new life some time next spring.

What I haven’t a clue about is why it does it in such an eye-popping color. When so many of its cousins are pale or camouflaged, what a happy sight these shining “flubbery” bits are. They are one of the many pleasures of going slowly.

Post and photo by Carol Beam, FOW Trail Ambassador