Sunday, November 22, 2020

Our Roots

We’ve been going to various nature centers during this pandemic, trying to be outdoors but away from crowds. I always find something that surprises me on these walks. This time, at the Parvin State Park in Pittsgrove, NJ, it was tree roots that were reaching up to the sky. The tree had fallen over into the lake and half of its roots were yanked up into the air. It was no longer living but half of its roots still held on, deep into the earth.

It was captivating. It isn’t often that tree roots are so visible. There was a lacy quality to them. I could see how interconnected they were, supporting each other so that the tree was able to rise high into the air.

It made me think of people who have passed away, especially now when so many have died from the corona virus. They may be virtually gone but they, too, have left roots in our society. Some of those roots can still be seen, biologically visible in relatives. But it is the impact they have made through their work and interactions in society that are the hidden roots, the connections that affect all of us.

Parvin State Park has quite a history:


Tuesday, November 3, 2020


Mushroom Hunt

My grandson and I have been on a mushroom hunt these past covid months. Periodically we go out for a walk around the neighborhood, looking for varieties we haven’t yet come upon. I think we are up to thirteen.

We haven’t identified the mushrooms we’ve seen but that doesn’t matter: we don’t plan to eat any. We are aware of their structure, color, and size as we compare our findings. It is a way to connect with nature and to spend time with each other.   

These days it’s important to appreciate any connections we have, whether it’s with family or friends or nature, but safely. We keep a safe distance from each other on our walks. We wave to neighbors across the street. And when we find something interesting in nature to look at, we take turns going up close. I miss our hugs, to be sure, but I value our contact – however we need to do it.

Here’s how you can effectively photo mushrooms:

Here is a (very) detailed chart to help you identify mushrooms: