I like this place best when I know it as something not merely for my own enjoyment. I love to be able to walk our trails and sit on our porches with people who share in that enjoyment with me, and particularly when they are attuned to the natural setting here and see it as particular and distinct trees, wildflowers, ferns, birds and this weekend—mushrooms!
Eight members of the Student Conservation Association and a half-dozen from the NRV Mushroom Club defied the weather-odds for a mushroom foray out here at the end of three very dry weeks. And against those odds, we found some 15 species of mushroom (the taxonomic list to come shortly) and back along Nameless Creek and then later, sitting in the shade of the maples and the side porch, we were really not uncomfortable.
Thanks to Becky Rader (holding the “Old Man of the Woods” mushroom)– of the NRV Mushroom Club, for bringing the group out to Goose Creek.
The students from across the country are currently stationed in Giles County and will be working on Dragon’s Tooth Trail for the next several weeks.
As usual, I had a hard time keeping my focus just on fungi, and had to snap this funnel-web spider who lived just above a nice rotten log full of Oyster Mushrooms I’ll go back and harvest—when and if we EVER get any rain!
There was not a lot of empty space yesterday that started with an 8 am drive to Wytheville and ended with a photo-op (well, not so much an opportunity as a wife-generated imperative) to capture the final night of Vacation Bible School and the kids she’d been telling me about all week. The theme was the Story of Joseph in Egypt. The choreographed songs were impressive, fifty children on stage, every one engaged and most of them moving the same direction. Mostly. For an off-the-beaten-path performance, it was truly amazing!
And the Chautauqua presentation was just one more reminder that it won’t be like you expect, so you’d better be prepared to shift gears to suit the actual terrain—not the one you’d prepared for based on your best-guess projection.
I hadn’t realized that the Creative Writing Competition was open to folks from the REGION, so the winners (and their families and the imagined 100+ folks in the audience) was more like 40, because a Honorable Mention doesn’t warrant a trip from Grundy.
So the younger writers I imagined in the audience were largely (though not completely) absent. I forged ahead, knowing that even among those older bodies lived younger writers—like me. My writer’s self is only eight years old “and my voice is still changing!” as I told them.
I was shocked to look at the clock and realize I had less than 10 minutes of time left at a point about one third through the stuff I hoped to say, so had to blur past two pages of “necessary evil” (if you read yesterday’s post) to be able to read the second of two essays and wrap up.
I’ll have to say that the event did inject a good dose of writer’s vitamins badly needed. It is easy, in the absence of contact with readers, to think that the reach of the message of the books and other writing pours out into a void and is only self-indulgent blather. But there are still ears to hear. I do appreciate the reinforcement from folks yesterday that there is something in the story worth telling.
Now, I need to regroup: a couple of carloads of Student Conservation Association field trippers and another full of NRV Mushroom Club folks are headed out to Goose Creek for a foray. Images and tall tales likely.