Then a great peace came over me & I seemed to hear the pines and the wind and the rocky shores say to me, 'You, lover of the wild, are part of us.' – Sigurd Olson
The Good Earth
My Family of Inky Caps
Margaret Atwood once wrote, “In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt,” but I’ve found this wisdom applies to most seasons. Today, walking through the woods, I found a fallen tree, decaying on the forest floor. It was covered with moss, lichen, and the most charming dark-brown mushrooms. I tried to photograph the mushrooms standing, then kneeling, but I wasn’t getting the picture I wanted – a shot that put me in their Lilliputian world. I realized the only way to get photos of their world was, of course, to enter their world fully: To lie in the dirt and leaves, my face inches from my subjects.
It is always odd to me how, as much as I love Nature, I balk at getting dirty. The school-teacher in my head says, “Keep you clothes clean, young lady. Wash those hands and stay out of the dirt!” and too often I am convinced. Too often I pass up a chance to be one with the Earth, to be just another creature, rather than a being destined to “rise above” such primal habits. Today, however, the voices of my better angels won the day and I lay on my stomach in the dirt and duff, breathed in the heady fragrance of curing leaves, let small beetles skitter across my hands and became as one with a family of mushrooms.