Friday, December 4, 2009

Mahatma Gandhi Endorses My Method

Mahatma Gandhi believed that the ends do not justify the means (or so I have heard). He is most famous for applying this to India's struggle for independence. He condemned the use of violence to attain freedom. For hiking, we can extrapolate that one should not toil away in misery just to see sweeping vistas and panoramic splendor. One should only toil away in misery and pain if one finds at least a modicum of pleasure in it. I myself enjoy at little pain with my pleasure, but panoramic splendor just isn’t for me. Therefore, getting to the top of the mountain is inconsequential in the grand hiking scheme. (I know; I’m a rebel.)

I have been known to go to the tops of mountains but this is always a self-sacrificial homage to compromise. I suffer through being surrounded by open space and steep drop offs, in hopes that I’ll be humored on the way back down. On the descent I will doubtlessly be entranced by woodland sprites who’ll compel me to watch the light pass over fern fronds next to a babbling brook. Of course there will be a moss covered log or two. Rotting logs are my favorite, especially when they’re all fungusy.

On the topic of fungus, I’m on a mushroom quest. Regrettably the quest is in a sad state. I had such high hopes for my mushroom field guide, but beyond giving the common and scientific names, where it grows and a description, it really doesn't say much. I find this most irritating. I am generally quite content to make up my own names, thank you.

What I want to know is everything else. What that everything else might be is nicely summarized by this Science Friday interview of mycologist Roy Halling, president of the Mycology Society of America.

Yep, this is the kind of information I’d like to have… now I just have to get my fingers on more than a field guide.

[Note: If you want to know more about mushrooms, please check out the awesome blog written by Cornell's mycology department. I have also added a link to Science Friday, because they are just cool. Both are now listed in my "links of interest." I didn't photograph Gandhi. This particular photo is used so frequently that I can't imagine it is copyrighted. I hope this is true and that the piracy gods don't smite me.]

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