Inspiration from Nature

I love nature and its sensory stimuli.  Sometimes I’ll just sit outside, listen, observe, smell, and feel my surroundings with my camera close by and my note pad in hand.  It’s also therapeutic and rejuvenating.

One afternoon I was walking down our gravel driveway to our mail box, and I noticed an unusual fungus attached to an old log.  It was dark brown, almost black, dried out, and in crinkled layers.  I’d never seen that type of fungus before.  I took a couple pictures and jotted down a few notes.  Once back inside, I started searching images of fungi found in Piedmont North Carolina, but I didn’t have any luck.

That night we had a thunderstorm.  It rained, and rained, and rained.  The next day I dodged puddles walking to our mail box.  When I re-examined the fungus, it looked very different.  It was gelatinous and resembled bat wings.  It was shiny and a brownish, mauve color.  Again, I searched online and bingo, I discovered that the mysterious fungus was Tremella foliacea, commonly called brown witch’s butter, jelly leaf, or leafy brain.  That really peaked my interest.

Supposedly,  an eastern European legend states that witches would spread the fungus on the entrance to a dwelling as part of a spell.  To eliminate the spell, a person had to kill the fungus by pricking it with a sharp object and draining its fluid.  The fungus would not shrivel up and die.  It’s probably not true, but it makes for an interesting story.

I chose to write a poem about my discovery and submit my poem and a photograph to the online journal NatureWriting edited by Ron Harton.  My poem and photograph were accepted and posted online on May 17, 2018.  NatureWriting.

Brown Witch’s Butter

Ripples of cinnamon-mulberry,
gelatinous lobes appear
as translucent bat wings,
a resilient fungus, nesting on
a fallen, decaying hickory log.

Brown witch’s butter slathered
upon wooden gate and doors
serves as a warning of
a witch’s spell cast long ago.

Summer rains hydrate and
strengthen the fungus while
the hex to harm an unfaithful lover
awaits a blood moon.

Parasitic to its recipient
now incapable of love.
Legend claims stabbing
the fungus with a sharp object
drained its juices
thus ending the curse
before it enveloped its prey;
efforts failed.

With scarcity of moisture,
gel shrivels into brittle,
charcoal-colored crust,
capable of rehydration,
with next rain shower,
restoring its exuberance
and hex’s potency;
sorcery is preserved.


brown Witch's Butter fungus

Re-hydrated Brown Witch’s Butter Fungus

Whenever I have writer’s block, I usually rely on nature to provide me with inspiration.  Nature offers a wealth of writing ideas, and I continue to learn so much about wildlife, plants, and other aspects of my environment.  Living out in the country helps.

Most of our lifestyles are so fast paced that we don’t take time to slow down and examine our surroundings.  The latter is reflected in two of my favorite quotes.  I hope you’ll take a look at my favorite quotes page, as well as take a moment now and then to enjoy the beauty of nature.

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