They reach up like jointless fingers that stretched from the floor of the forest. Colorful enticements that quietly looked up in the shards of light, as they captured the changing light around them. The distant light brings the energy to do their task. The slow undertaking of consuming others around them. Their true purpose is to bring life from the death of others. To breakdown those that have served their greater purpose. But now they hold fast to their brothers that have come to slowly consume what remains.

They hide in plain site for all to see their unique beauty. They grow in the quiet damp places and on the sides of the trees. These colorful members of the forest reach out to all that would take notice. But are often passed by as perhaps less important than those that live around them. Their prupose goes unnoticed as the passing of time claims those that others would come to see. But they hold a rich beauty of distinct shapes, colors and sizes.

The family of fungus hides itself among the dead seeking to do its job and go about its way unnoticed. But to those that know them they can be small treasures worth the effort of finding. Their abundance of flavors and colors have adorned many tables. Often prepared with butter and a bit of salt these delicacies can delight one’s taste buds. Some are delacacies for chefs, prized items that can fetch a good buck if they are in the right condition. Many are grown on farms for the masses to enjoy in everyday fare. But one needs to know where to look and at what time of year to pick them.

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Some of them hide in the shadows of dimly lit undergrowth where dirty, oozy things spring up from the world around them. While, others climb the arms of the forest around them. They grow here and there and in the hidden areas of the forest floor. They spring forth in the light of open meadows. These soft creatures can’t take much abuse and prefer to be left alone. In fact, some of them insist upon it. Their toxic look-a-likes keep others from indulging on them. To the point of poisoning those that ignore the warning. So, one must be careful and take heed of these look-a-likes that protect them. The untrained eye or the unsuspecting picker can be fooled. And what seemed like an easy meal can become a toxic mess, for the one that does not know the subtle difference between them.

For the casual trail traveler they are colorful delights that can bring to life the forest floor with rich colors and opportunities that some would pass by. But for the ones that take the time their bountiful array of shapes and sizes are only matched by their colorful hues. So, grab a camera and your favorite walking stick for a casual walk among the mushrooms in the parks and forest nearest to you. And always “shoot the world with light.”

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