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Weekly Observations: Spider lilies, mushrooms: The secret’s under the ground

Weekly Observations: Spider lilies, mushrooms: The secret’s under the ground

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I look for them every year. And they never disappoint. I love spotting the first jonquil in spring, around here usually that’s February. And discovering the first spider lily of fall. Again, around here that’s anytime from September on.

The first amaryllis. That’s another flower that comes up in Spring, and produces a beautiful bulb after a long wait, but it’s more progressive, and can be watched for several weeks as it develops.

Spider lilies have that one thin tall stalk with a willowy, lacy, spindly flower at the top.

The flowers can be white or red, or a variation between. They are all around us all the time. We just can’t see them. Until, POOF! There they are; edge of the field, in a lot where a house once lived, a flower bed. The bulbs seem to thrive in cemeteries and on forgotten lands.

They burst forth after a good rain, brightening a dismal day, heralding fall and winter. And then they slowly disappear, back, as it is, into the earth until next year.

I have a writer friend who recently wrote about mushrooms in her online blog.

She says, “It rained for five days here in Darlington … Finally, the sun came out, and along with the sun, a myriad of mushrooms.”

She said she examined them closely, hoping some were edible. Alas, hers were not. They were poisonous.

Still, they were intricately designed and quite pretty. She wrote, “Some are fluted, while others look like the homes of Smurfs. Where have they been all this time?”

She did her research.

“My mushrooms have been there all along, underground, eating off the dead vegetation and decomposing roots hidden beneath the grass. When a good rain comes, they develop “fruiting structures” which show above ground.”

Like my spider lilies, or amaryllis, and other bulbs, mushrooms are there waiting to happen. Just under the surface.

Then the right circumstances, right weather, right soil, right temperature, and POOF! Their secret is with them, just under the ground.

My writer friend went on to draw a parallel between the mushrooms and humanity.

“For a time, we can keep the nasty parts of our lives hidden: habits we don’t like to admit, or thoughts that don’t show on the surface. But eventually the rain will come in the form of temptation, or stress, or anger, and POP, out it comes – that fruiting structure that no one knew was in us,” she said.

I’ll let you contemplate that one for yourself.

Me? I like to know that things can come from unprepared soil. That life springs forth when and where we least expect it.

That living things can survive in the tiniest bit of dirt between the cracks of a busy sidewalk, in an untended garden. The secret is underground.

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