Thursday, February 11, 2016


Shiitake have IQs. You don't believe it, just ask me. Admittedly, it's a kind of intelligence most folks don't encounter in everyday life, outside certain areas of finance; it's an intelligence we who prefer full daylight don't know much about. I've never read any scientific studies on shiitake IQ either, but if you actually raise the savory creatures, you come to understand the shadowy time-transcendent intelligence you're dealing with. You get that eerie Twilight-Zone feeling, as in the presence of chronic bankers. 

One example of shiitake savvy, apart from the amazing hydraulics of their existence and other unfathomable skills, is that they always grow biggest in places you don't look for them. When you're out searching for lunch on a log and at some point realize that there aren't any shiitake worth harvesting and are willing to swear there are no places on that log that you didn't check for shiitake, just a short time later you’ll see a giant sofa arm edging out from the very same log, with that TZ theme deedling in the background. You swear to yourself once more that you checked there, you checked everywhere, you've been doing this for 15 years now, after all, you should know, hunger doesn't overlook food, but your time and experience mean little to the brown-hooded brood...

This happens year after year; they always grow biggest where you definitely looked for them. I can only conclude that certain places are forever invisible to non-mushrooms. This is not standard reality we’re dealing with here, this is shiitake reality; they live in multiple dimensions and are not fully of this earth. I know the round-earthers and other reality-restricted types are right away poo-pooing this idea but of course they do not raise shiitake and probably work in finance or its vicinity. They react with knee-jerk responses like "Of course they grow biggest where you didn't look, it's because you didn't look there, so they weren't found, but were left to grow big!" The obvious is often all the reality-prone can command...

The metafact is not that shiitake grow big because I don't look where they are growing, it’s that they grow big in those places because they know where I cannot look! I understand this because of all the times I have left a good-looking mushroom in place to grow bigger in a couple of days, and it NEVER DOES... That's right, it knows I'm going to harvest and consume it, so it doesn't bother growing any further! The resources go elsewhere: they go to the mushroom unseen.

Moreover, the shroom I haven't spotted knows I haven't spotted it and thus that it has a chance to spore, so it goes for it, rockets out and up, aiming for the fences right before my unseeing eyes. With every fiber of all the mycelium backing its effort, it goes massive. It then permits itself to be spotted, because by then it doesn’t care, it has grown beyond edibility. It stands there jauntily, in plain sight now, doing its oh-so-subtle victory dance and wearing that protosmirk they get at that stage, like the good guy at the end of the war movie who's dying but has managed to blow the bridge.

Still. I get most of the newbies sooner or later, so in some ways I'm smarter than most mushrooms, if the monkeys don't get them first, though in other ways I'm dumber than mushrooms, and throw the monkeys in there too for good measure, it all works out in its own way-- monkeys, mushrooms, humanity, finance, all one big cycle bobbling in its own kind of balance, just ask the universe. 

The evidence is always right there before your eyes, where a shiitake isn't.

Friday, February 05, 2016

Cold Spring night 
Sogyu brings out
sweet potatoes unearthed
last Autumn,
split and dried over winter,
to roast in slow time
over embers like your hunger
as you practice
too hot to hold--

Then bite with care
chew with a dancy tongue
and the sweet
comes alive with your life,
the sun, the rain,
the earth in you,
relives in taste
how all things grow
and raise you up
because you are their flavor


                                     RB ii.2016