Welcome to day 10 of 31 Days of Apocalypse, Now, a month of posts about apocalypse, revelation, uncovering what’s been hidden. Each post will look at these ideas from its own vantage point, which may not obviously connect with the others, and which may only peripherally seem related. I won’t attempt to tie the posts together. They’ll all be listed here, as they are posted.
I wrote a couple of days ago about a trail that was hidden to me, not because it was really hidden but only because I had never explored it, though it was in plain view, on all the maps and trail lists and easily findable along a nearby road.
Yesterday, I had the experience of expecting something to be hidden — because it usually is, in my limited experience — and instead, I stumbled upon it smack dab on a trail. Three times in an hour or so! They weren’t hidden in physical space at all. I had just before this been walking on a trail when I smelled one of the telltale odors of a stinkhorn, a strong bleach smell, and even after looking all around for the varmint, could not find it. It was probably well covered with fallen leaves. I’m used to them being that hidden, though I know from the not-very-delicate aroma that they are there.
It’s not uncommon that my own assumptions and expectations — which may even be accurate most of the time — hide what’s right in front of me, so that the “uncovering” process — seeing what’s there — actually requires an unveiling of my entrenched ideas and an openness to other possibilities.
These three stinkhorns (Phallus impudicus) actually attracted my notice in different ways. The first, a mature fungus, smelled lightly of bleach but it was the swarm of small flies all over the cap that drew my eyes to it.
The second, an immature fungus, had no scent discernible to me, but again there were some flies and the mushroom itself just stood out. I’ve never seen a young stinkhorn in the wild, so seeing the lattice or netting and the wrinkled cap was a thrill for me.
Finally, there was this specimen, already disintegrating — the grey cap has fallen off — and smelling to high heaven of Clorox. It was actually slightly off the trail, a few feet, but its whereabouts were unmistakable for those with noses to smell.