The Way I See Things


Arty farty disco hat

With the normal proviso that I'm not an expert (in anything) and that there could well be other species that look very similar, I'm going to assert that this tiny fungus is Lachnum virgineum, which is known in the UK as Snowy Disco and in the USA as Stalked Hairy Fairy Cup. When I say tiny, each of these little cups was between one and two millimetres across, and I didn't spot them at all until I was processing some images of Candlesnuff Fungus - huge in comparison - growing out of the same rotting elder log.

I haven't been able to find any fascinating information about this species, which may come as a relief to you if you're still reeling from yesterday's slime mould, and its cytoplasmic streaming. But referring back to that, I was pointed at this fascinating article today, by a contact over on Mastodon. Though it isn't actually the main thrust of the article, my favourite bit is the mental image of a slime mould finding its way through a maze to get to food.

Tonight's rather blurry extra records my Good Deed for the Day. I was on my way back to the house from returning the elder log to its home in the wild garden, when I spotted this Bombus terrestris queen, soaking wet and absolutely still, clinging to a tatty bloom of our Iceberg rose. She didn't move when I gently stroked her, and I wasn't sure that she hadn't already died, after being caught in torrential rain on the coldest day of the autumn so far. It was scheduled to rain again quite soon, and to get even colder overnight, so after some thought I snipped off the bloom, laid in on some straw in a cardboard box, and took it into the warm kitchen.

Within about ten minutes the bee had started to move around, though very slowly. I offered her a sip of sugar water, which she rejected. A few minutes later she began to try to climb the side of the box, so I took it out into the porch (which is just a roof on pillars, sheltering the front door), and put it down on a bird food container. I then went to get the camera, and by the time I got back she'd climbed onto the box flap and was vibrating her wings to warm them. I only managed three frames before she rose unsteadily into the air, hovered for a second, and then lifted and zoomed away. As I watched her go I laughed aloud with pleasure, to the evident bemusement of several dog walkers who were passing at the time.

When R arrived home and heard this story, he told me about a Bertrand Russell essay he's currently reading, in which he  defines love as moving "between two poles: on one side, pure delight in contemplation; on the other, pure benevolence." I think I can say that my interaction with the bee met both those criteria.

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