Beautiful poison

I haven’t been to Powder Valley in a time so went for a walk this morning. I needed the fresh air, and it was a beautiful day — clear skies, cool winds, and warm sunshine.

Since the leaves are off all the trees now, I could see details of the forest not previously seen. One small valley had about 30 different bird species flying about, looking for food, singing. You forget how blue a true bluebird can be until you see one next to the dry rust brown of the trees. Or how loud woodpeckers can be without the muffling of the leaves.

In and around the trees was life of a different kind: feathery bushes with bright red berries and fallen trees providing home for mushrooms and other fungi. The mushrooms were all of a kind — fan shaped, thin, and delicate, sprouting out in orderly lines, like so many rows of shy maidens.

“Red berries will make you sick. Never touch”

“Never eat a mushroom you find in the forest.”

When we were kids we were told not to pick the pretty red berries, or the tempting mushrooms. However, it was okay to eat the plain purple/black berries, and to gather the hard shelled, inedible looking nuts from the forest floor.

Purple/black, okay to eat. Red, not. Leave the mushroom shapes alone. Don’t you wish people had these outward markings of bad and good? Then you could tell when to touch, and when not to touch.

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