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Weird Little Weather Makers




When planning events, I have to check the tides for seaweed, the moon phases for the kayak trips, the swell and wind for Dungeness crab, cross my fingers there will be enough rain for mushrooms, but not so much that we are rained out or there’s no sun to trigger their growth. Or the winds have been so strong that places like Salt Point shut down due to fallen trees. Scheduling these adventures is dynamic and exciting and kind of stressful, particularly in the winter months. I can plan according to the weather, tide, moon predictions, but I ultimately have no control over what happens. It’s an unscripted world where nothing is guaranteed, particularly in the world of wild mushrooms.

 

Mushrooms can create both wind and rain – which are beneficial to them. Researchers at the American Physical Society's Division of Fluid Dynamics found that some mushrooms – including oyster and shiitake, use evaporative cooling, “small water droplets, which appear on mushrooms just before spore dispersal, evaporate and create enough vapor to lift and actively spread the spores.” 

 

Mushrooms can make it rain. Water droplets form on the mushrooms, sending them into motion. Each mushroom can send out billions of spores per day. They ride on the wind currents,- up to 4 miles an hour, and meet up with the millions of other mushrooms’ billions of spores, and condense into rainclouds, creating the precipitation that mushrooms need.  This is particularly prevalent in rainforests. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0140407

 

 This is not so much a form of control that mushrooms have over an environment, but they influence for the sake of their spores surviving, to make more of themselves. Perhaps desire can be looked at as the persistent loop of survival. Does this mash up of the primal and ephemeral become, over time, love? Do my pets love me or do I just feed them every day? Does it make sense to love the earth, and can the earth love us back? Can we humans also survive by manipulating our environments in ways that aren’t destructive to earth? This may take a rejiggering of what we desire, and how we go about it. As I get older, and with Valentine’s Day in the rearview mirror, this resonates more and more – can I train myself to desire differently, and create new habits and beliefs? There will always be the undercurrent of desire thrumming a sort of rhythm to all that we do. I recently bought a book of exquisite poetry, The Asking by Jane Hirshfield, and keep coming back to this poem:

 

The Adamantine Perfection of Desire

 

Nothing more strong

than to be helpless before desire.

 

No reason,

The simplified heart whispers,

The argument over

only This

 

No longer choosing anything but assent.

 

Its bowl scraped clean to the bottom,

the skull-bone cup no longer horrifies,

but rimmed-in-silver, shines.

 

A spotted dog follows a bitch in heat.

Gray geese fly past us, crying.

The living cannot help but love the world.

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