Saturday, January 24, 2004

The humblest fungus

Hypogymnia imshaugii or forked tube lichen

From the Lichen Portrait Gallery. Stephen & Sylvia Sharnoff also take amazing photos of fungi and slime molds.

The simplest and most lumpish fungus has a peculiar interest to us, compared with a mere mass of earth, because it is so obviously organic and related to ourselves, however remote. It is the expression of an idea; growth according to a law; matter not dormant, not raw, but inspired, appropriated by spirit. If I take up a handful of earth, however separately interesting the particles may be, their relation to one another appears to be that of juxtaposition generally. I might have thrown them together thus. But the humblest fungus betrays a life akin to our own. It is a successful poem in its kind.

- Henry David Thoreau


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