Fungus and Creation

“In art, either as creators or participators, we are helped to remember some of the glorious things we have forgotten, and some of the terrible things we are asked to endure, we who are children of God by adoption and grace.” Madeleine L’Engle, Walking on Water

“Creativity means making something for the soul out of every experience.” Thomas Moore

Found near the beach

They are signs of death, really.  They cannot live without death, in fact, and often they cause it.  But pause to look, and really take in the elements of design here- their shape, colour, the striking contrast between the fungus and the wood it grows out of, the gradations of colour, sometimes strong contrasts and sometimes quite subtle.

This might be a bracket fungus (

Or perhaps a Cinnabar Red Polypore   (

Or maybe Pycnoporus coccineus.

All the bracket fungi are in the polypore family, and there are at least a thousand species of them.  Imagine!  They are generally hardy and live a long time, many of them have concentric bands of colour that are annual growth rings.

Their function in the web of life as we currently understand it is to be the first and foremost of the wood decayers. Some of them kill trees, others colonize already dying or dead trees and get to work on reducing the wood to a softer pulp that allows other creatures, insects and even woodpeckers, to follow and use the softened wood for their purposes while helping to further break it down, ultimately returning nutrients to the soil.

A frozen ice-age man carried two kinds of polypores in his pack.  One has medicinal purposes in many cultures, and one is useful for starting fires. Most of them are edible (although there is a highly poisonous member of the family).  Many cultures ascribe various medicinal uses to different species.  They come in dull, dun colored forms that blend in with the wood on which they grow. They come in whites, greys, brilliant oranges, reds, and chocolate browns. I’ve seen some green, although that might be algae growing on the fungus.  Some can only grow on one kind of tree, some can grow on any kind.  Some kill living trees, some only grow on already dead or dying logs.  Some are hard enough to be used in wood carvings. Some are used as an artist canvas- draw on them, and let them dry and the sketch remains, hardened.    So much beauty and intriguing variety out of a lowly, common, and fairly simple (but still too complicated for humans to be able to reproduce it) organism whose function in life is to decay wood.

Found on a log in the street near a pile of garbage

God has purpose for you, too.  What are you creating out of your experiences?
From the stars in the universe to the single celled algae and the strange world of mushrooms and everything in between,

“Oh, Lord, our Lord, how majestic is Thy Name in all the earth….When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which You have ordained, what is man that You take thought of him and the son of man that you care for him?” Psalm 8


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Dawn at the Beach

This was over Christmas break.  It was actually chilly enough to me at 6 a.m. that I wrapped up in a beach towel, but I think I have acclimated a bit.  It was probably only 27 C, or around 80 F.

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The spiral of a seashell

Seashells are exoskeletons. The soft mollusk that lives inside oozes out a secret mixture of calcium carbonate, proteins, and mystery to create the shell. Scientists still do not know how the mollusks create the pigments to colour their shells.

They are dedicated home improvers, constantly expanding their living space as they grow.
“They are among the few animals on the planet that wander around carrying with them the same body armor they had as babies; the pointy tip or innermost whorl is the mollusk’s juvenile shell….
“Day by day, the mollusk shell slowly expands, making room for the soft animal growing inside.”
Spirals in Time, by Helen Scales (a book on my wishlist)

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K-Drama I’m Watching

K-Drama Just Between Lovers. Don’t know if I could have watched it 3 yrs ago, but it’s my current obsession. It’s heartbreakingly stunning and perfect- all of it, the pain, the music, the actors, the PTSD. I’m afraid. But I can’t give it up.

The back story is a mall collapse that happened ten years before our story, although there are a lot of flashbacks.  The two leads were young teens at the time, trapped for a long time in the dark beneath fallen walls, one of them with severe physical injuries. Both lost family members in the collapse. Both are dealing with the fallout and survivor’s guilt and other trauma ten years later when they meet again.  There is, of course, an adorable second lead, noble, admirable, and he, too, has known loss from that mall collapse and is suffering in his own way, but  Junho’s acting and character here are casting shade on pretty much every one around him, except the female lead.

K-dramas often don’t do mental health issues very well.  This is, thus far, an exception for the most part.  It’s glitteringly brilliant and it sucks me in so far and so willingly it’s like faerie glamour.  Our wifi problems have started up again and I mostly only have enough juice to watch one or two episodes of my choosing each week.  I choose this one.  I like Jugglers, I Am Not a Robot, Two Cops, and I am anxious to see Lee Seung Gi return to the drama with his new drama, but this is the one for me.

The two leads are Junho (who is incredible) and Won Jin Ah, who is likewise amazing. This is her first t.v. drama. She’s done some film work.  They deftly show two people, shattered in different ways, fitting their broken selves together.  That’s not usually what works in real life. Broken people cut each other with their broken edges. It usually takes one whole or more nearly whole person to make it work.  But I’m okay with this version and am biting my lips and clenching fists as I watch in the hopes that it will work out here.


Junho is a singer with 2PM,  I don’t know from what place he’s pulling up the heartache for his angry little boy lost, but it’s working so well that I find myself hoping he’s not carrying that home with him later.

Viki has it. So does KissAsia.  It’s at Dramagalaxy and there are a couple of episodes on Youtube.

Hangul title:
그냥 사랑하는 사이
Sounded out roughly, that’s
Geunyang Saranghaneun Sai
Other English titles:
Rain or Shine, Just in Love

It’s hurting, but in an exquisitely painful way.
Here’s one of the OST songs:



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Church Potluck for End of the Year

Our church here only has one potluck a year because most families could not afford to do more.


Dishes included pancit,chop suey, kinilaw (a raw fish salad that is incredibly delicious), spaghetti Philippine style (very, very sweet sauce), fish, cake, lumpia, chicken and pork bbq on skewers, several other things I can’t recall, and not pictured here, about 2,000 cups of rice.

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