Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Freakiest Fungus I've Ever Met

I took a short afternoon walk in my usual haunts, the forest of the Baird Creek Parkway, with no particular goal in mind but to enjoy a beautiful early autumn afternoon. I brought the camera along knowing I'd regret it if I didn't but was not intent on using it.
It almost goes without saying that I didn't get far down the trail and across the creek before I came to my first good reason to have brought the camera...interesting texture in the end of a broken limb on an an old log. I set up my camera and got a few shots. My eye was drawn next, 15 paces ahead, to a very green leaf resting on the rotten red trunk of an oak lying nearby. Amazing color contrast. I set up there. Another interesting shot.
My intention had been to take a short walk as other responsibilities tugged at me so with time running short, I regretfully packed up my gear, preparing to head back in the direction I'd come. As I turned to leave, my eye was once again drawn to something...but this time it was no leaf or log! There on a tree's trunk was a massive fungus that had been out of my view from the direction I had approached. Had I not followed my eyes to my other two subjects, I'd never have discovered it there.
It's at times like this that I almost feel as though I'm being led...very strange.

The fungus, known as Chicken Of The Woods, is an edible type that is said to taste very much like poultry. As a vegetarian I'd be interested to find out for myself but even had I known when I came across it, it was really too beautiful to have destroyed. The amazing photos are certainly just as delicious.
And those aforementioned responsibilities?
Well, a photographer must have his priorities...

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