Just last week, I found this little mushroom circle out on a walk on the site, just in front of the Tower Stage. It's already brutally hot here in south Texas, and these little fungi were bravely popping up out of the dry, rocky soil, a visible testament to the sheer determination of our planet's flora to survive and sustain.
A few days later, I cued up the next Supersoul podcast on my app, and it was an interview with cinematographer Louie Schwartzberg, a renowned pioneer of time-lapse photography. He specializes in nature time-lapse, he's very passionate about it, truly (isn't it fun to encounter people who are passionate about what they love?). He described a film project about a phenomenon of which I had never known: mushrooms are but the visible part of a vast underground mycelium network that connects plants over miles and acres. The plants share nutrients and information. When we trod the paths at the festival, our tennies and Bald Mountains and rope sandals are walking atop a huge plant communication network. Isn't that staggeringly awesome?!
Paul Stamets, an environmentalist at the center of the film, says, "I believe nature is a force of good. 'Good' is not only a concept, but it is also a spirit. And so hopefully, the spirit of goodness will survive."
Even after twenty years wandering the paths of TRF, I find myself newly amazed by our site and our planet, and with a refreshed love of both. Ocean, tree, water, mushroomâ¦mycelium. All miraculous. All connected in earth's magic. As are we.
It's an information superhighway that speeds up interactions between a large, diverse population of individuals. It allows individuals who may be widely separated to communicate and help each other out. But it also allows them to commit new forms of crime. No, we're not talking about the internet, we're talking about fungi.