Thursday, April 28, 2016

My Stuff: Those Big Mushrooms You Could Write On

When I was a kid, Dad showed us how to write on mushrooms. Ever go walking in the woods and see those big white mushrooms growing on the bases of trees? If you're careful when you break them off, you can write in the spongy underside with a stick. Dad did that a lot when he took a roll of film of our vacations, the introductory picture in that roll was a mushroom with the date and location of said vacation.
I still have this one, from September 2nd, 1986. Growing up, we discovered a HUGE blackberry patch about a mile or so up a hill, in the middle of the forest past the train tracks behind our house. We unofficially named it Blackberry Hill. We picked bucket loads of blackberries there for several years. One summer, I decided to commemorate one of our trips with a mushroom. Apparently, that day, according to my inscription, it was "Great picking."
It's a now calcified mushroom sitting on my stuff shelf. But it represents a significant portion of my childhood, the marking of important moments which pale in comparison to graduation, or getting a job, or buying a car, or a promotion, or whatever. In some ways, though, it's far more important. It represents an Indian Summer day of perfection: a morning of ease, no cares, a morning of childhood, carved into a mushroom.
The neat part is we've passed along this tradition to my daughter Madi, as you can see below. She has her own mushrooms now. Hopefully, she'll come to treasure these days as much as I do mine.