Spinster aunts, it is widely known, are among the world’s foremost experts, but the relentless trickle of time can erode even the masterful chops of our giant spongiform lobes. Which is why it never hurts to burnish the old bean with a weltanshauung-enbiggening book every now and then.
As luck would have it, just as I was casting about for some new spore of knowledge to fill an empty spot in my iPad, somebody on the radio was interviewing the author of this book Mushroom. Mushroom, I am pleased to report, is all about “the triumph of the fungi.” Jackpot!
Writes shroompert Nicholas P Money, “On breezy days, the wind is full of invisible biology.”
You had me at “money,” Nicholas P Money!
Señor Money continues,
We are bathed in a soup of these procreative morsels and inhale the biosphere with every breath. If that doesn’t make you reach for nasal spray, consider that each mushroom that elbows itself from the ground sheds hundreds of millions, even trillions, of microscopic spores. As a source of airborne particulates, the mushroom is a masterpiece of natural engineering. 
Aunts like mushrooms and fun mushroom facts, it’s just that simple. For example, the eradication of fungi would occasion the immediate cessation of all life on this planet. Also, some of them are delicious. Also, any author who thinks “bathing in soup” works as a metaphor deserves a Savage Death Island you-go-girl. This book is for me!
[On a side note, this whole ebook thing: what’s your take? It’s always sad and traumatic and occasions nostalgic, purist paeans to the days of yore whenever the dear old childhood technology gets edged out by something more modern. Plato, for instance (or one of those other dead Greeks), was bummed when the written word started taking off. He thought it would be the ruin of civilization if people didn’t have to memorize everything all the time.
But aside from the comforting musty smell, I’m not convinced that paper books are, in praxis, superior to digital ones. For instance, although I relish the feel of a hardbound tome in my gnarled claw as much as the next aunt, in recent years my reading spurts have tapered off. Why? On accounta sitting down with a book, in the quiet of the afternoon, bathed in a soup of soporific sunbeam motes or, as it turns out, mushroom spores, in the cushy lounge chair every middle-aged aunt should own– it’s an insta-nap. I might as well wash down a handful of Ambiens with a handful of Lunestas. Whereas it remains an unexplained mystery, but I don’t experience this bookalepsy when reading from a screen. Which means that, since I started downloading my lit, I’m now actually reading 99.99% more of every book I start.
Also, if you cut and paste from an ebook into your blog, it automatically creates the footnote. Sa-weet.]
1. Money, Nicholas P. (2011-10-24). Mushroom (Kindle Locations 115-118). Oxford University Press. Kindle Edition.
Photo: Jill Psmith. Mushrooms in the manure pile. Cottonmouth County, TX. January 2012.