Monday, May 28, 2007

The Old Web

Thoughts on the Old Web of interconnections: reading Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma some months ago, I was intrigued by his section on foraging for mushrooms, those strange fruiting bodies that are not vegetable and are, in fact, rather akin to meat genetically. Since then, I’ve wanted to go on a mushroom hunt. (I remember seeing morels in Iowa City in the vicinity of Black’s Gaslight Village.) Then, Gary Lincoff, who wrote the Audubon Guide to shrooms, was on the tree walk I took in Central Park last Sunday. Should get that book. Lately, dipping into the biography of Beatrix Potter because I was intrigued by her avid naturalist and conservationist ethos, I discover that she was a keen amateur mycologist. It all connects, like the mycelium underground.

Proteus returns, too. Aristaeus, the greek god of beekeeping, had to wrestle Proteus to the ground, through all the transformations, to find out why his bees had died. The other gods, the usual Attic crowd of meddlers and back-biters, killed them to punish A. for trying to jump Eurydice; fighting him off, she fled and was bitten to death by a snake. Then Orpheus… but you know the rest of that story. To make amends to the other gods (but not, of course, poor Eurydice), he had to sacrifice some bulls and heifers and later found the bodies a buzz with bees. The ancients believed that animal carcasses generated bees. They seem to have be confused by flies. See Lyle’s Golden Syrup, that yummy deliciousness that has rotten so many national health teeth, which is illustrated by a lion’s carcass swarming with bees and the biblical “Out of the strong came forth sweetness.”
Took M and her friend P into Green-Wood yesterday after a scrumptious brunch in her fantastic backyard. A hot day, but we saw the two red-tailed hawk chicks being fed in the nest. The parent hawk was ripping up bits of flesh to feed them. One chick was quite dominant; this is no doubt the older of the two since they are laid/born asynchronously. The chicks are still fuzzy headed with down, but their wing feathers are coming in, and they were flexing their wings; they will be fledging very soon (none of the interminable mollycoddling mammalian slowpoke development). Fantastically good view, since the nest isn't all that high. Back to dinner at M's with her house guests after a shower: speaking of scrumptiousness, M looks fantastic in a dress.

Got one mosquito bite, but we'd polished off dessert before the rain started.

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