The title is a reference to a J.S. Bach cantata, Sheep May Safely Graze. I didn’t see any sheep yesterday, but I did encounter a flock of newly-emerged Turkey-tail mushrooms (Trametes versicolor) contentedly grazing on the ligneous tissue of a fallen river birch branch.
The recent rains have brought forth quite a few wood-eating mushrooms. There isn’t much time left before the really cold weather arrives, so they are making the best of this late Indian Summer period, chomping down on dead wood and doing their bit to produce humus.
I was out on my delivery route and had pulled up to a favorite secluded dell. I was walking around, seeing what was new, and happened upon this scene of mycelial decay, my favorite kind! The low slanting rays of autumnal sunlight were just right, and I marveled at my luck — the right place at the right time once again!
Here’s an overall view, the tans and oranges of the mushroom blades contrasting with the pale hues of the curly bark of the birch:
A closer look:
This crop amused me; an instance of fungal jubilation, as if the eyeless creature was shouting to the sky gods: “Love this! More rain, please!”
On a nearby log another colony of Trametes had done its thing and dried up. The stiff and leathery blades of the polypores were rimmed with a delicate shade of lilac, a color which gladdened my heart:
This encounter with representatives of another kingdom took all of about two minutes; before long I was back on the road again, contemplating the encounter, glad that my camera batteries had been charged!