The Fungal Season

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It’s been a week of all the weathers, and although there have been some gloriously sunny interludes, I have been mighty glad of the sheltering presence of the tress on Southampton Common. You are never far from leafy cover on the Common, and I am constantly amazed by my ability to discover new pathways or woodlands.

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The Cemetery Lake has a rather welcoming tree near the water’s edge, and is slightly more sheltered from the wind than the Boating Lake. As a result, I have spent some quality time with the swans and gulls over on that side of the Common this week, and rather neglected the other two ponds (although I did se a rather pleasing cloud arrival over the Boating Lake one morning).

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One major advantage of being driven into the woodlands by the damp weather is that the season of fungus is upon us. This is the time year when I set off from home looking like a semi–responsible citizen, and return with branches in my hair and mud encrusted debris on my clothes, having spend a happy half hour or two kneeling in the squelchy undergrowth photographing the tiny but transient delights of fungi. Every little mushroom is different, and I am prone to exclaiming with joy when I find something particularly pleasing. People like me, who wander wild haired, chatting to themselves with beaming animation, are one of the reasons why some individuals are fearful of being alone in woodland.

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Although there have been plenty of times when the clouds have rolled in this week, there have also been sunny hours, when the speckled woods and dragonflies have danced in the rays. During these moments I have been reminded that although I love the colours and tiny life of autumn, I am kind of sad  that the insect stalking months are drawing to a close.

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