The Morel of The Story; The Theology of Mycology. (Garden Notes/Poems, 4.24.09)

A Morel.
One single solitary morel.
Into my garden –that has proved
FULL of magickal mycology,
and wild mushroom surprises–
it came –for the first time–
last Sunday,
A Morel.
A mysterious morel.
How did I manage to notice it,
in its dark place
mostly concealed
underneath a large
overhanging planter?
But I did.
I observed
its unmistakeable
spongey shape
over several days.
I photographed it,
I examined it closely.
I hoped –I suppose– that
more morels might manifest.
But it was to prove
the only one
–this time.
Five days after discovering it
I picked it.
I felt it out, in the dark,
late at night, taking care
to ease up as much of the stalk
as would come.
I cooked it, sauteed lightly
in some olive oil
with a little piece of lamb
and some wild chives;
and with a dandelion/mint
salad on the side.
Grace after meals!
Suddenly the phrase
came to mind:
a phrase I hadn’t
thought of for
many many years.
What a nice phrase it was;
graceful; it must have
meant a lot more
before it was printed
in a prayer book
–“Grace After Meals”.
All of a sudden
my morel brought it
back to mind
and into style.
We all know “God will provide” —
I mean, we all know the proverb.
There is a Yiddish addition to it:
“God will provide;
Ah, if only He would
till He does so!”
God is at home in my garden;
He should be;
after all it’s all His Stuff.
My garden is so full of
His bright ideas;
His handiwork —
I am surrounded with it.
Every now and again
He’ll throw me
a mushroom surprise.
For several years He has
been sending me
–at unpredicted intervals–
batches of delicately gilled
Volvariella Speciosa
several overnight crops
in May; a few more in June–
and then big harvests
late into October.
Volvariella Speciosa
is (–I learn from Google–)
a most highly prized,
a most highly priced,
delicacy in China,
lying far beyond
my mushroom means.
“God will provide”
and does provide,
I tell myself
savoring its delicious sauce
with homegrown basil
over angel-hair pasta.
I have learned to
keep my mushroom eye out.
If you don’t expect them
you might not see them.
I ply the garden
with wicker basket,
sometimes even filling it!
Such bounty;
such benificence;
such blessings:
God provides, indeed!
There would be
more mushroom surprises.
One day I come across
a growth of new mushrooms
–a crowd of strangers;
with bright orange caps,
thirty or more of them
lumped together,
tightly clumped,
–their architecture
pressed close,
and silhouetted
like an old Italian
hill town;
or a mysterious,
many-towered castle,
as pictured in
a lavish children’s book.
The bright orange caps;
the clammy oily flesh
left no doubt: Poison!
Deadly Poison!!!
NOT Edible!!!
(Though later
my brother Jer
offered a dry correction:
“All wild mushrooms
are actually edible.
The problem comes later.”
Bright Orange!
Clammy flesh!
My mushroom book
identified the orangeness
of the clump:
it was a poisonous group.
–one name was
“Satanas Boletus”
or “Satan’s Mushroom”
You can’t get more
poisonous than that.
But later came a quandry!
The Theology of Mycology,
right there, in my garden!
Surely there could be no doubt
about the benificent bounty:
God provides; all praises to Him.
But the Satanas Boletus,
Deadly Poison?
Was that courtesy of God too?
Might it not poison me
but also bear an as-yet
undiscovered cure for cancer?
(Or stupidity? Or presumption?)
Or was that Satan there
in my garden too?
“Satan will Provide”?
Just as he had been
in the very first garden–
The Garden of Irresponsibility.

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