why mushrooms?


It’s finally time to start the new writing project I’ve been thinking about for a while now. Rob and I have been in our house near Nyack for about 10 months, and along the way, there have been several funny and perplexing incidents I’ve been itching to write about. We’ve battled ice damns, preserved suspicious bugs in the freezer, scarred the sidewalk, and developed numerous theories about the mysterious extra mailbox on our property.

At my request, Rob designed the website header (above) featuring the crazy fuchsia house with the mushroom forest. This was several months ago. “What’s up with the mushrooms?” he kept asking me while we were creating this. “I have no idea,” I said, “there’s just something about mushrooms.”

I like to eat mushrooms (the legal kind, of course) but I’ve lately been interested in them more as symbols than as edibles. They are quirky indeed: odd-looking, unassuming (and, okay, sometimes poisonous). In fairy tales and on greeting cards, they make perfect helipads for ladybugs, shelters for frogs, and stools for gnomes. I am drawn to their roundedness in the same way I am drawn to polka dots and those dome-like water towers. I imagine (hope) that mushrooms will serve as the prototypes for houses of the future. (Shout out to Casa Jetson and the Seattle Space Needle).

Mostly, mushrooms represent to me an outcropping of creativity mixed in with a bit of magic. Like ideas, they sprout where and when you least expect them. For example, flappy mini-mushrooms occasionally appear (then disappear) on a stump in our yard. Quiet as they may be, they seem like “fun guys.” (Sorry – if you thought I could get through a piece about funghi without making that joke, you are unfortunately mistaken.)

When we were in San Francisco last fall, there was a whole booth in the fabulous Ferry Building Marketplace that sold only mushrooms.

At another booth nearby, they were selling little wooden mushrooms I couldn’t resist. In a Lucille Ball-esque moment, I managed to knock down several of them while reaching for this one:

My appreciation for (obsession with?) mushrooms has developed pretty much during the time we’ve been in our house. So it makes sense I would include this image in my new home tome iconography. It also makes sense, based on how much more I have been working, that I just couldn’t find (or make) the time to get this project going. (What’s with the silent ‘t’ in mortgage? – it should obviously be spelled moregage.)

Sometimes, you just need a sign. Last week, I was snooping around Christopher’s, an eclectic antique store in Nyack on South Broadway when I spotted it: my newest inspiration, our first (and what I presume will be our only?) piece of lawn ornamentation, and what has become the impetus for this first post.

So here is home tome and here is its mascot, nestled in its new habitat near a tree, beside some moss, and most importantly, easily viewable every morning from our living room’s picture window. It reminds me that there’s room for creativity in every aspect of life. And that, even at your busiest, it’s important to have fun.

Thank you for reading. If you have something essential (or non-essential) to say about mushrooms, fun guys of any kind, or lawn ornamentation in general, please leave a comment below.

4 replies

  1. Jocelyn, I really enjoyed your blog. The bananas, especially, since overripe ones are a weekly occurance here. Worms. Interesting creatures. Did you know the more worms you have around, the better your soil. On rainy days, our driveway and sometimes garage are overrun by these little creatures. Slimy as they may be, they have turned the clay soil around us into a wonderful planting medium.
    —–and mushrooms. I just LOVE them. I love how they fit so well into nature, the landscape, and even the golf course. They are so natural and seem suited for all outdoor spaces. Take care now and “hi” to Rob. Elaine

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