The mushroom burial suit discussed in the last post brought out several interesting comments both here on the blog and in person by those who know me personally. https://crookedcreek.live/2017/11/06/infinity-suit/ To those who no longer enjoy eating mushrooms, I apologize. My intent was never to destroy a good thing and edible mushrooms are definitely good. Let me assure you that today we move on to a mushroom adventure that should not offend.
Have you heard of fairy rings also called fairy circles, pixie or elf rings? I must admit that I am new to this worldwide subject concerning the growth of mushrooms in a circle or an arc shape, but since I’ve researched the subject please allow me to share what I’ve recently learned.
These rings of mushrooms appear most often in the woods, but may also be in open grassy areas. At some point in the life cycle of these formations, the grass may either die or inversely become taller and darker so that a grass ring occurs. Once begun the life cycle can carry on for many years.
Have any of you seen a fairy ring? I had not until a couple of days ago when my daughter shared one that she had spotted while driving to work. It was just off a busy suburban thoroughfare and I wonder how many other people drove by without noticing this phenomenon. My oldest, Dianne, has always been attuned to nature, a knack I believe she learned from her dad. We were both so relieved that it was still present when she drove me to the spot in a grove of pine trees. I admit that we parked on private property and trespassed a bit to reach the circle of mushrooms. It was not perfectly circular nor completely filled in, but it clearly formed a large ring. Here are a few photos that demonstrate what we saw:
Dianne and I walked very carefully to not damage any of the mushrooms in the area. We did step into the circle and I did not know at the time that we could have been in real danger of losing our sight or even dying young according to folklore I later read. Of course I am past the latter, but still one cannot be too careful when dealing with otherworldly presences.
It seems that most European countries have their own legends concerning the rings. France which is thought to have the largest (>2,000 ft,) and oldest (700 yrs.) such ring prefers the term “sorcerer’s rings” which they believe are guarded by a giant toad. In Germany, they are associated with witches and Dutch legends give the devil credit. In Austria, such rings were thought to be the result of flying dragons that blight nearby land.
Whether the myths passed down for generations concern good luck or bad it is fun to think of fairies dancing around or inside the circle on a moonlit night. Whether you picture fairies sitting on mushrooms and using them for tables as in Scotland or carrying mushroom parasols to enhance fertility as do the legends of Wales, enjoy the fantasy.
While these phenomena are naturally occurring and we could learn all the agricultural and scientific principles involved, I prefer to stop right here and believe in fairies.