It was after half five by the time I left home today, a drizzly grey Saturday. The evening air was fresh and balm to my indoor face. I entered the park with the intention of going to ‘Scotland’ to find the fungus, that L had messaged me about.
She said “I snuck up to the Glen this morn – cabin fever hadn’t been out since our walk on Monday and saw the kingfisher at the first grey bridge zooming into the woodlands went some different paths and saw this amazingly bright fungi at the end of the top ridge path – above the oak tree before the turn to go down to the main road – could see this bright orange thing in the distance! you might know what it is? it was very moist and papery/material like!”
Today L posted its name on our Friends of the Glen Page: “spotted this fungus yesterday on the top ridge – so bright could see it glowing in the distance and coincidently popped up on Biodiversity Ireland site as species of the day! – Tremella mesenterica, more commonly known as Yellow Brain Fungus or Witch’s Butter and it is a Jelly Fungus – spooky!”
“supernatural…”I say, and ask: “is it on a gorse bush?”
L replies: “its on some dead wood (save the dead wood!)!and apparently edible but tasteless!”
and I chorus: “Save the dead wood ” then “-happy to hear witches butter is tasteless”
So I go looking in the darkening eve, I pass through the gothic quarter, so bare and open now in the winter, and hear a barking bird call, wondering what it is … I spot only a blackbird, too dainty for the call, flitting across the dead branches. I head on up to the oak and beyond, now hearing ascending scales, human notes! I spy some dreadlocks through the gorse bushes and can’t resist getting closer, the singing has stopped and I see the back of the singer, curiously facing away from the Glen to the North link road. He turns and is not startled by me, I say it’s a good place to sing, and he says yes, he can’t practice in his flat and he comes often at night, and comes sometimes with his guitar. I say I sing here too, as I walk on my own to the plants, and sometimes with L under the oak. We introduce ourselves – D – J – and I tell him about our Friends Page, hoping he will join our assorted oddbods and enthusiasts. I press on, leaving D to his practice, and in search of the Witches’ butter, by now its dark as I peer into gorse bushes hoping one gold will lead me to another, but not tonight and so I round the turn of the buddleias, stopping by the river to watch the play of golden street light on the river.