"Approaching the Faery Ring"
Yesterday a mushroom sprouted in our yard.
Today, there is a faery ring.
I jumped inside to see if
they would let me in.
The door to Underhill
did not open for me,
but I always like to check.
* * *
This is the faery ring as it appeared on August 2, 2017 looking south toward the grass wall. There are 5 points forming a pentacle. In this picture you can see the white mushrooms poking through the slightly darker ring of grass that sometimes appears in a faery ring.
Here is a closeup of two small mushrooms together on the right side.
This is the big mushroom at the top of the ring. It has a thick stalk and a round bulbous head, all covered with little tabs of flesh.
Here is my hand for comparison. Hard to see from this angle, but when I hold my hand straight up, the top of the mushroom comes to my wrist.
This is the faery ring on August 2. Look how much bigger the mushrooms are! They grow fast.
These are two small mushrooms on the right side, one just beginning to emerge. When they sprout, they are all enclosed in a veil. In some species you can see remnants of that on the mature mushrooms.
Here's a closeup of the little one.
Yesterday's cluster of two is now three.
Here are two on the right side.
The big mushroom has split open at the cap.
When my hand is straight, the mushroom now comes halfway up my forearm, so about 10 inches tall.
This is a closeup of the skirt or ring under the cap. That thing was fluttering in the wind like Marilyn Monroe's skirt!
Here you can see the top of the cap, which is covered by many shaggy scales.
The mushrooms are so big and such a bright white that the faery ring can be seen from a long distance. This picture was taken from near the septic garden, more than halfway down the yard, but I could see them all the way from the road.
A faery ring is actually the fruiting body of a fungus under the ground. In this case, the critter itself is about five or six feet wide. I poked around at identification and tentatively arrived at Amanita thiersii. This type of mushroom is new to me, although I have often seen other types of faery ring, usually with much smaller mushrooms. As I suspected, it is known as a southerly species, likely moving north due to global warming (we used to be Zone 5b and are now 6a) and inspired by the damp weather. Faery rings are considered portals to other realms. No, I'm not kidding about jumping in them, I always do. But then I am fey. It is less safe for humans.