Picking Zits Off the Face of the Earth
Wednesday, September 14, 2016
Living in the dry Colorado climate for roughly 45 years I never thought about the mushrooms that used to grow in our lawn in the moist climate of my Ohio childhood home. Two years ago we moved to Oregon in the middle of summer to a yard that had been neglected for years. It was just weeds and rocks until we had it landscaped in September. Last year was one of the hottest, driest in Oregon history.
So looking out at the yard and seeing the white caps of mushrooms in our yard a couple days ago. There were just a few of them. My husband normally does the yard work (even with his bad back) so I ignored them. Then this afternoon I went out through the back to put a bag of garbage in the disposal bin and thought I was looking at some artist's impression of a bad case of teenage acne. White mushroom caps were clustered in several areas of the yard in the area shaded by a huge old oak tree. I dumped the garbage in its bin and went back to pick the mushrooms out of the moist green grass. I pulled up one stalk and it came up attached at its base to a second one. I pulled up another and the disturbed earth revealed a dozen tiny caplets growing under the ground level. I held my left hand like a platter and filled it until it threatened to topple. Then I grabbed as many more as I could manage with my right hand and walked down the side of the house to deposit them in the Yard Waste bin. I walked back to the original mushroom patch and repeated the process four or five times. Each time I returned it looked as though a new crop had popped up during the few seconds I had been gone. It reminded me of the zits that used to afflict my face in junior and senior high school. That's when my mind conjured the picture of the face of Mother earth being afflicted with these zitty mushrooms.
I thought about getting a bucket to fill instead of doing all the walking and decided I really need the walking steps. I have to watch my back to and thought the exercise of straightening it periodically would be good for it. Back and forth - eight, nine, ten times at least. A piece of moss had dropped off the tree: when I picked up the most there was another clump of mushrooms. Had the spores been in the moist moss when it dropped or did the moss shade the grass and add moisture to the spot? Or both? Who knew.
My husband came out into the back yard and saw me. He tried to pick up a few but his back was not up to the task. So he brought me a small bucket to save me a few walking trips. At that point I was grateful. He had loaded the Yard Waste bin with old dry leaves from around the backside of the house nearly to the roughly 30" x 30" top. My mushroom collection spread densely across the entire flat top of the leaves.
About the time I had cleared the worst of the little monsters my back told me it was time to quit. I stopped and pulled isolated dry oak leaves out of my houseplant pots. I gave the yard a last look and could have sworn I saw the tips of a new crop of mushrooms peeking into view.
Now my doctor has said I should get outside more to boost my vitamin D levels and I know I need more exercise. Undoubtedly the walking, bending, stooping, and stretching though I'm not quite sure how to enter those into the exercise tracker except, perhaps, as general gardening. My body would probably thank me if I got out into that yard more often. But I'm not so sure my back would be happy, and I like a teenager ready to grow up, I really don't want to have to deal with those zits again.