Mushroom Paths of the Forest

One recent frigid morning, I brought along my dog and headed out to the Old Growth Forest of Caldwell Nature Preserve in Ohio. I also brought along a bag of Lion's Mane mycelium. As I made my way through the frozen snow covered forest, I spread the mycelium to every dead and dying tree on the path. I tucked in the white threaded rubbery mycelium into every nook and cranny. I imagined the thick pom-pom tendrils of the mushroom popping up next summer or fall on the same path as I made my way through the silent forest.

Fungi are the masters of their spheres. Their mycelial bodies forming and reforming to whatever shape is presented to them. This immortal being, that has seen more of Earth's history that almost any other creature is spread throughout healthy soil throughout the globe. The varying species of fruiting bodies are simultaneously delicious and medicinal, psychoactive or deadly. The varying shapes and sizes of mushrooms all comes down to the common denominator of hyphal threadlike mycelium.

The frozen forest seems so quiet, with only an occasional bird flying from one branch to another, yet underneath the ground in the deep soil microbes are firing up waiting for their moment of thaw and sunshine, fungi are navigating the depths, digesting detritus along the way, while always keeping an eye on the light and the perfect conditions to spread their spores.

My purpose is to enhance ecosystems by introducing fungal species and to enrich the experience of the forest. Cultivating a multi-species fungal environment, especially introducing saprophytic species can encourage the transfer of nutrients within the body of the soil. I will also acquire a benefit by producing these species for my own use or local sale.

As I call to my dog and make my way towards my car, the flowing water and the crunching snow penetrate my mind and push out everything else. Maybe the cold will kill my fungal partners, maybe they will survive until spring and then we may meet again on a warm summer day.

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