Oak-leaf Funeral Procession

After a long day of driving last November we pulled into a campground at Twin Bridges State Park in northeast Oklahoma. The campground is on the shores of a man-made lake called The Grand Lake o’ the Cherokees, a name which seems to be a slim compensation for the tribe’s forced removal back in Andrew Jackson’s time. The lake was formed after a branch of the Neosho River was dammed back in 1940.

The campground is shaded by post oaks, gnarled and not very tall trees which to me were a sign that we were on the verge of the Great Plains. Recent rains had brought down many of the distinctive stellate leaves of this species and they formed a crisp and rustling carpet on the ground.

Right next to the graveled parking lot I spotted a colony of delicate brown mushrooms, each one seeking a path to the open air through the loose layers of oak leaves. They seemed intent upon their spore-dispersal duties and barely noticed me at all as I knelt down with my camera.


In my usual fancifully anthropomorphic fashion I imagined that the erect fungi were supporting one particular leaf upon their caps and stems, slowly bearing it to its final resting place.


These are familiar colors and textures to me. Mushrooms which feed upon oak leaves often seem to have colors which harmonize with the hues of the leaves, and the slightly viscid texture of the fungal flesh contrasts nicely with the hard, crisp surfaces of the leaves. A closer view:


Visual encounters like this always cheer me up and feed my fancies!


One comment on “Oak-leaf Funeral Procession

  1. LInda says:

    I love the muted shades of brown in these pictures, very beautiful. I didn’t know that mushrooms ate oak leaves. Thanks for sharing!

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