A lifetime in 12 hours

I was out gathering the dishes mid-morning from last night’s furry revelers and came across this lone mushroom on my “forest-floor” back yard.

He was all alone, from what I could see, but stood there bathing in the sunlight and showing off his delicate beauty to anyone that might observe.

There was no vanity … he was just doing what mushrooms do and reaching for the sky in an attempt to shout out his praise to the heavens.

I put the dishes down and grabbed my camera (don’t I always) took these few shots and then just admired him for a moment. Then I picked up my dishes and went back about my day.

Three hours later, I remembered him and went back to see how he was doing. He was bent over, dying on the cold ground beneath him. A few feet away from where he stood, I saw his cousin whom I had missed earlier. He stood there, shriveled and brown, and clearly in distress over the fall of his kin. A lone tear rested on his fading face and I felt sorry for him.

I felt sorry for them both. They were taken from us so young.

At the end of the blog are some of the shots I got … just three hours apart.

And as I walked back to my desk, slightly crestfallen, a sadness came over me. Sad because it is very possibly that I was the only one to have seen this lovely little guy over the entire duration of his life.

He lived his life for just this one moment in the sun and then ashes to ashes, returned to whence he came.

Perhaps his beauty shone out to a passing butterfly, who herself was destined to live a short life…. though not as short as his. Or perhaps his cousin briefly spotted him in the distance and managed to wave to him before he fell. We will never know.

How long we live is largely a function of the type of “thing” we are. From hours to years, to possibly a century. While it is happening, it may feel of substance but in the grand scheme of things, we don’t even appear as a dot on the timeline of the planet we live on.

So the relevance of our longevity is minimal. Though some people make it their mission to be remembered after they are gone. They build monuments, statues, walls, determined to write themselves into the history books.

For what?

Do we really think there is an immortality to be found in the page of a history book? There is every likelihood that a person will be remembered for an atrocity as much as an act of greatness. Hitler will likely outlive us all.

So, the pursuit of immortality is a fools game. But more importantly it can become in itself a purpose and therefore distract away from the love we can share and experience with those with whom we share our here and now.

My little mushroom guy shared some of his moment with me, this morning and however unintentional, I now add to his level of immortality by showing his picture here. But it was surely incidental to his real purpose in life.

It would be nonsensical to imagine that he stood there waiting for me to appear with a camera. Unless of course, he was a prophet among mushrooms. And maybe he was … who am I to cast shadows on a prophet.

But far more likely is the story that he was born this morning just before the sunrise, grew to maturity before the hard heat took hold of the day and then bade farewell when his time was up.

And did the world come to a stop when he fell? No.

It will not stop for anyone. Rich or poor, famous or unknown, loved or unloved. The world will continue to turn.

We put such value in our lives because we know one day it will be replaced by death. Some go to great lengths to extend the quantity of time they have here, without deference to the quality of the time here that they have.

My suggestion? Learn a lot from the mushroom … he was born, he lived, he died. So do we all.

Enjoy the middle bit while you can!

… just a thought!