Food for Thought

Mushrooms growing in a forest by Geez staff

In Japan, Mushrooms have two names,
Kinoko: child of the tree
Taake: ear of the grass.

(as in shii-take, shii-oak, take-mushroom, mushroom that grows on oak)
Though my ancient relatives had less scientific understanding
How shrewd and observant they were.
Saprophytic fungi reside in wood
Mycorrhizal fungi dwell in the soil.
In these two names they tell the story of wood, earth, air, minerals, death and life.

Most likely, early forms of trees and fungi
Were the first to emerge from the original womb, the ocean, onto the inhospitable
Rocky mass and carbon filled air.
Together they slowly worked the planet, the fungi breaking down rock
Creating soil for trees to root
while trees inhaled the carbon-filled atmosphere,
Gave the fungi sugars and filled the air with oxygen.

If trees are monuments of permanence and life,
fungi are the foundation of impermanence and decay
Life is no less fecund than death.
Death is no less vital than life.
How shrewd and observant my ancestors were.
Instead of falling prey to binary thinking
They saw the whole paradox as something sumptuous to dine.

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