• Rebecca Lerner

I'm definitely in need of some time off myself

I walk through the thick green of the lawn and step on a mushroom. It cracks upon under my toes, shattering into soft shards.

I think about what I can't see, how mushrooms create an underground internet, the thin threads of their bodies stretching to connect the roots of plants all across the garden, all across the world. I don't ask why or what, but how.

The more I learn, the more I have to unlearn. Mushrooms don't just pop up, they're always there, their spores hiding in the dirt we walk on and run our fingers through and pat down to make the shapes that please us.

Trees use these underground networks to send each other vital nutrients — the older ones send food to the younger ones to make sure they survive.

I wonder if the older trees discuss the younger ones, with careful descriptions of which ones look just beautiful with the sun dappled on their leaves and instinctually know to grow tall and strong into the night sky, and which ones will need their help.

Mushrooms spread their spores through the air and then disappear as soon as the conditions don't suit them anymore. When I chop one into my salad, I slice something that knows what it's about. I slather it in butter and burn it to a crisp; we sit down to eat.

The trees are talking to each other, so we can shut up now.


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