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Pastor's Blog

The Old Man of the Woods

July 28, 2020

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I had cut the grass last Friday and started my walk out at the Navarino Wildlife Area a bit tired out and without a lot of enthusiasm.  I stopped to chill with some mushrooms who have started to appear.  The trail I took turned out to be one of the lovely dead-end trails at Navarino, the first of two I explored Friday, the second also being a previously flooded trail that had dried up enough to walk on.  The second trail had, interestingly enough, been cleared using some kind of lawn mowing beast.  Why the Navarino authorities cleared a dead-end trail is a mystery to me.  Maybe they didn’t know it was a dead end.  It’s not like it’s on a map.

There were lots of mushrooms freshly sprouting.  Those on the first dead end trail had red brown caps.  They were fairly large for being so young, and their stems were barely visible since they were still pushing up from layers of leaves.  I wanted a picture of the whole mushroom (not just a red cap), so I knelt down in the mud to remove a leaf or two from it, and reached down with the camera to about a half an inch from the mushroom, so the camera could see under the mushroom.  The stem, I discovered, had the texture of a sponge.  Which, after a long search back at home, was the only thing that eventually helped me identify it.  It has recently been given a great new name: exsudoporous frostii, because its molecular make-up accounts for one feature that makes it stand apart from its previous family: it exudes amber droplets from its pores.  Hence the name exsudoporous.  Only three other species have been identified in the world in this new family of boletus mushrooms.  The weird skin on the stem of the mushroom bruises easily and turns blue. Its previous name, boletus frostii, was given to it by a Unitarian pastor in honor of his mushroom scientist friend, Charles Christopher Frost, who had published a survey of bolete mushrooms in New England in 1874.  Frost, to return the favor, named one of the mushrooms in his survey after his friend.

The Purple Martins

July 15, 2020

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“Hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

Romans 5:5

The Oldest Leaf

July 8, 2020

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I’m reluctant to admit that I was glad to see that the trail through the recently clear-cut woods at the Navarino Wildlife Area had been re-opened.  Why tidy up all those limbs that had been hacked off living beings and strewn about?  Through a killing field, I’d rather stumble and stagger than stride. No longer shall the trees of that field clap their hands. 

I happened to have read on one of the educational signs along the way last Friday that the practice of clear-cutting sections out at Navarino helps keep the forest young.  What’s wrong, I asked myself, with an old growth forest?  In some circles, old growth forests are extolled, admired.  Here, inexplicably, not.  I guess we do live in a social order where young revelers are oblivious to the fact that infections picked up at their COVID parties might find their way to the innumerable places where they come into contact with vulnerable elders.  Like grandma.

Another World

July 1, 2020

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Another World

I know it’s getting to be old hat, but last Friday I was lost again at the Navarino Wildlife Area.  I was following one of the two parallel trails leading south from Town Line Road. There are a few east – west trails connecting them, so Friday, I thought I’d take one I had never taken before.