it’s a bright morning after unsettled weather, I enter the Glen meaning to make contact with the birches as I have begun drawing a book on the first tree of the Calendar and the ogham alphabet, Beith. I have forced myself into this in the need to have ‘something to show’ from my time on the project, and a correspondence of sorts with Bec down under even though we have been collecting our exchange on summer solstice, this was my winter beginning and seasonally corresponding to hers. I approach my portal tree and pull back the park a little, exposing its tender inside and semaphore scroll, I see it still harbours life as an earwig drops out, last January when I did the same it was a shield beetle who fell. Impatient, I stroll on to the 3 Triskel birch with her 3 trunks, I’m looking for material to draw and can’t help feeling I’m forcing something, though I love her long horizontal arms reaching out spindly from the dividing trunks
while here I catch a glimpse of something under the beeches, that could be litter, however, moving closer I see its a massive mushroom, with a wavy edge and I am delighted by its trumpet form. It smells pleasantly mushroomy and leaves a strong buttery scent on my fingers where I have touched it. I put out feelers and I am informed it could be the edible delicacy known as The Millar (Clitopilus prunulus) I am delighted with the name – so apt for one found here in the Glen of the seven mills. I look up The Millar online and hear about its distinct smell: doughy I am told on one website, or mealy or raw pastry…ah so… I find The Miller is also known as the Sweetbread Mushroom…. another website tells of a cucumber scent. My informant tells me to test it by checking for a pink spore print. I come back with a collecting box and gather up a broken portion of it. In my studio I make a spore print on green paper… just in case it really surprises me with a dark spore show. Then I forget about it until a day later and I find the spores have formed a thick slick ground which is not very obviously pink, and so I am wary of it. I have been informed that the Millar is often mistaken for the deadly Fool’s Funnel, (Clitocybe rivulosa) which yields a white print.