In all my years of traipsing through the Pennsylvania woods, I’ve never seen anything like it.
But it was just the start of our mushroom adventure (Latin name: fungus wondermentum). My four kids had planned a weekend away as an early birthday present and this morning we are on a reasonably short hike through sodden woods. My three sons are ahead on the trail, discussing movies louder than is my style in nature.
So Grace and I have hung back. The mushrooms have given us something to watch for.
The purple one, called a Sticky Violet Cortinarius, seems too bright and glossy to be real.
Shortly after, we find one with delicate and pale fingers that is aptly named Coral fungi.
Yellow Jelly Babies (I kid you not) seem like a kind of Gummy Bear confection.
These common trunk-frills are bracket fungi, I’m thinking.
There are others we can’t identify, like these I will call Lemon Drops.
Perhaps they grow into this funnel-top.
We even find some that turn out not to be mushrooms at all, but Indian Pipes: plants that lack chlorophyll.
Grace and I show each other our photographs as we take them. I compliment her on her composition skills (the above photo is hers). But I don’t stop there. Having studied Psalm 145 earlier today, verse 4 is humming in my heart:
One generation shall commend your works to another,
and shall declare your mighty acts.
So I tell her that noticing God’s creation is just the first step to potential worship. It’s an increasingly difficult first step in our age of distractedness, so it’s no small thing she has it ingrained. Framing that beauty in a photo then enhances the wonder, adding a bit of meditation. It’s easy, at that point, to make a connection in one’s mind to the Creator. But praise requires an acknowledgement, a thankfulness expressed.
I suggest she take it one step further. Make it relational. Don’t simply see moments of marvel as random scatterings of a distant Creator. Realize that your loving Father put that little glimpse of glory in your path and prompted you to notice it.
It is a gift. And an invitation to a sweet moment of fellowship with him.
Then, the smallest of surprises – even a gaudy purple mushroom – can become an exchange between a loving father and an awestruck child.
Father God, I am reminded again of the abundance of your giving. Even something as lowly as a fungus can come in colors and shapes that fill us with wonder. You didn’t have to do that. But you did because you delight in giving us myriad moments to connect with you. Teach us to not only see them, but to let them grow into praise.