Being red is the color of a white sun where it lingers on an arm. Color of time lost in sparks, of space lost inside dance. Red of walks by the railroad in the flush of youth, while our steps released the squeaks of shoots reaching for the light. Scarlet of sin, crimson of fresh blood, ruby and garnet of the jewel bed, early sunshine, vestiges of the late sun as it turns green and disappears. Be calm. Do not give in to the rabid red throat of age. In a red world, imprint the valentine and blush of romance for the dark. It has come. You will not be this quick-to-redden forever. You will be green again, again and again.
Marvin Bell - 1937-2020
The Book of the Dead Man (Fungi)
Live as if you were already dead. – Zen admonition 1. About the Dead Man and Fungi The dead man has changed his mind about moss and mold. About mildew and yeast. About rust and smut, about soot and ash. Whereas once he turned from the sour and the decomposed, now he breathes deeply in the underbelly of the earth. Of mushrooms, bakers yeast, fungi of wood decay, and the dogs preceding their masters to the burnt acre of morels. And the little seasonals themselves, stuck on their wobbly pin stems. For in the pan they float without crisping. For they are not without a hint of the sublime, nor the curl of a hand. These are the caps and hairdos, the mini-umbrellas, the zeppelins of a world in which human beings are heavy-footed mammoths. Puffballs and saucers, recurrent, recumbent, they fill the encyclopedia. Not wrought for the pressed eternity of flowers or butterflies. Loners and armies alike appearing overnight at the point of return. They live fast, they die young, they will be back. 2. More About the Dead Man and Fungi Fruit of the fungi, a mushroom's birthing is an arrow from below. It is because of Zeno's Paradox that one cannot get there by half-measures. It is the fault of having anything else to do. The dead man prefers the mushroom of the gatherer to that of the farmer. Gilled or ungilled, stemmed or stemless, woody or leathery, the mushroom is secretive, yes, by nature. Each mushroom was a button, each a flowering, some glow in the dark. Medicinal or toxic, each was lopped from the stump of eternity. The dead man has seen them take the shapes of cups and saucers, of sponges, logs and bird nests. The dead man probes the shadows, he fingers the crannies and undersides, he spots the mushroom underfoot just in time. When the dead man saw a mushrooming cloud above Hiroshima, he knew. He saw that death was beautiful from afar. He saw that nature is equidistant from the nourishing and the poisonous, the good and the bad, the beginning and the end. He knew the littlest mushroom, shivering on its first day, was a signal.