It’s six p.m. as I’m writing this, and the fog is rolling in from the river. I can’t see very far, but there’s a light winking on and off from across the wetlands–it might be pleasant if I hadn’t been reading ghost stories for the past couple hours, but now it just feels kind of sinister.
This time of year, everything is damp. The soil squishes beneath your feet and moisture runs down every windowpane whether it’s rained recently or not. That’s the Pacific Northwest for you–on my side of the Cascades, March has a kind of pervasive wetness, a gloomy gray haze that gets into everything until the sun comes and dries it out in June.
It all sounds very unpleasant, but the truth is that I love it. Something grows in all this damp, even if it’s a nuisance to scrub mold out of my windowsills and watch lichen slowly creep over my fences. Fungus are beautiful in their own unique ways, even if there’s something a little unnerving about everything they do, from releasing spores to their little spongy gills to their great underground networks of interconnected fruits. And they thrive in this moisture, popping up from the earth seemingly overnight.
Anyway, here’s a drabble.
(a.) From Greek μύκης for fungus
June learned to garden because it was what you did in the country, where groceries were expensive but the soil was fertile. You could plant anything out there in the back yard and see it sprout, come spring; even things that shouldn’t grow. Inorganic things, strange things, dead things—all popped out of that dirt like mushrooms after a hard rain.
A marble became a thin tendril of green-tinged glass. A broken bottle grew into a vine with brutal, thirsty thorns. A leftover crust of bread yielded savory fruit.
What she nurtured grew, sometimes feeding her, sometimes drawing blood.