Wednesday, October 5, 2022

North

We arrived for a short break in Maine just in time for blue weather and sunshine.

The woods crowding right down to the water still awe me. 

Sitting beside the clear water, hearing the small sounds as the tide moves massively and delicately in and out, is beyond price. A seal surfaces, breathing. An animal swims across the smooth inlet - at first we think it is an otter. But when it walks onto the island nearby it is clearly marten-like. It is a mink. And not in coat-form. Just doing its private mink-things, where it belongs. Later, in the woods, we see two porcupines in a maple tree, talking to one another

I don't know how to value these experiences. Watching the Frenchman, who has been working seven days a week for a long time, is like watching fresh life being pushed straight into his veins.

European sea rocket (Cakile maritima) grows on these pebbled shorelines. In New York we have the native America species, C. edentula. Both have horeseradish-strong leaves and young pods.

Under the trees, on springy soil rich with layers of fir and hemlock needles, we walk along small trails and pause often to look. At ferns, at bark, at mushrooms, at red squirrels.

Honey mushrooms, is my first thought. But the essential (if you're thinking about dinner or want accurate identification) spore print I take is tan. Honeys have white spores. They turn out to be a species of Pholiota, also edible. The other possibility is a species of Gallerina, which is exceptionally toxic. Mushrooming is always humbling. We didn't eat them.

And a vivid Hygrocybe. 


More mushroom challenges. I still don't know what these are. They grow flush with the deep quilts of moss that cover the duff under needled evergreens. Their caps are solid, dense, and dimpled downwards, so that each is concave at its center. I collected a flock to make spore prints (white) but still have a clutch of possibilities and no real idea.  Possibly a species of Lactarius (milky cap), although the solid texture suggests Tricholoma. I know: Talking to myself. 

But it's all so interesting.

____________________

@66squarefeet

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