Complicated Times

Life feels complicated recently, though I don’t know why. I’m not the one dealing with major issues: floods, droughts, mysterious ailments, car accidents, death. Looked at from that angle, my life is simple right now. Still, what life is and what life feels like are two different things, especially since I tend to empathize with other people and feel unsettled by their troubles.

I suppose I should be grateful that the worst thing that happened to me today is finding several patches of stinkhorn, a mushroom with a distinctly fecal and intensely fungal odor. I plucked them (not using my bare hands, I will have you know) and tossed them out, though from what I’ve read, doing so merely removes the visible part. The hyphae (filaments) remain in the soil and will generate more stinkhorn.

So how do you get rid of such things? You don’t. Nothing — no fungicide or weedkiller — gets rid of them, so it’s been suggested that people who were gifted with such fungi in their yards learn to accept them and to embrace their unique beauty. Yeah, right. They are absolutely not my idea of beauty. In fact, I think they are a bit frightening looking, though apparently, despite their nauseating stink, these mushrooms are not harmful to people, animals, or vegetation. (Which makes me wonder about people — in looking for information about stinkhorns, I came across people asking if stinkhorns were edible. Who cares? Anyone who has such a lack of smell as to be able to put that thing anywhere near their mouth has bigger problems that the edibility of the mushroom. But yes, if you are one of those whose curiosity runs in that vein, stinkhorns are edible.)

On a list of the worst life has to offer, stinkhorn is nowhere near the top, though it’s still nothing I want to deal with on a regular basis. Luckily (or unluckily) we will soon be back to our near-drought dryness, so the mushrooms should be making themselves scarce, though like so many things that complicate life, they will never be completely gone.

Life does seem to circle back on itself, bringing better times as well as more complicated ones, so as with stinkhorn, the best thing to do is . . . I don’t know . . . wait for the worst to pass, I suppose.


Pat Bertram is the author of Grief: The Inside Story – A Guide to Surviving the Loss of a Loved One. “Grief: The Inside Story is perfect and that is not hyperbole! It is exactly what folk who are grieving need to read.” –Leesa Healy, RN, GDAS GDAT, Emotional/Mental Health Therapist & Educator.

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