Greetings to each of you as early fall shifts into later autumn. I have been busy in my garden, deadheading and clearing out spent summer flowers and foliage, along the way coming across an odd visitor I’ve now learned is known as, wait for it, dog turd mushroom or dead man’s foot (Pisolithus arrhizus, see below). Apart from looking like dog poop or a piece of dead body, it has an unpleasant smell. Here in California, they surface near cedar, oak, and eucalyptus trees, with whom they share a symbiotic relationship, providing underground nutrients to tree roots and, as they rot, organic material to the soil. The fungus we see is just the tip of an astounding mycelial network that’s part of the vast, unseen yet ecologically crucial subterranean ecosphere.
The autumnal advent of this outwardly unappealing fungus evokes and embodies the phase of nature’s cycle involving decay, returning to the earth, and the working of unseen (unconscious) processes to generate future growth. Fall folk holidays like Halloween, Día De Los Muertos, Samhain, and All Souls understand that change includes the passing away of the old. These occasions encourage us to honor this darker aspect of the transformational process rather than relating to it with fear and aversion, and in this way, to increase our potential for richer experiences of gratitude, abundance, and interconnection.
We will be reflecting on the powerful wisdom of autumn through guided mindfulness meditation, journaling, poems, and stories on November 28th, 6-7:30 pm Pacific Time online. I hope you’ll join us as we explore the deeper meanings of the season and the bearing these have on our own lives and journeys.
Here’s a link to register:
Meanwhile, sharing a poem along with many wishes for a bountiful and engaging harvest season.
A Continual Autumn
Inside each of us there’s
a continual autumn.
Our leaves fall and are
blown out over the water,
a crow sits on the blackened limbs and talks about what’s gone.
There’s a necessary dying, and
then we are reborn breathing again.
Very little grows on jagged rock.
so wildflowers will come up wherever you are.
— Jalal Al-din Muhammad Rumi