|Bigfoot trap on Collings Mountain trail near Applegate Lake, Oregon. Photo by Mario D. Vaden .|
Yesterday I could get nothing out of Oregon. I even spent extra time researching & meditating on the place. I asked hubby to help me & pick something that he thought was symbolic or representative of Oregon since he lived there for 10 years. Nada.
I asked for mushroom dreams. I received none.
I found this photographer's spectacular gallery of fungi in Oregon which I thought I would just share in this post since either I am magickally shut down (which I happen to know I am not because I had mushroom dreams again last night), or it was a bad day, or there is some kind of Oregonian block, or...
Then, I found that same photographer's image of the "Bigfoot Trap" (see above). What a nice diversion from an effort that was quickly becoming drudgery, if not total frustration. How could I know that this bit of entertainment would lead to one of the most fascinating mycological facts I have ever learned?
But back to Bigfoot. Otherwise known as Sasquatch, Bigfoot has been widely sought after for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is because some people believe it to be evidence of the "missing link" of hominid evolution. My skeptical mind & background in Physical Anthropology (not to mention being the daughter of a functional morphologist) will not allow me to entertain the idea that Bigfoot is the missing link, but I do enjoy the folklore of it. The fact that someone made the effort to build & maintain a trap for this beast for six years fascinates me. Here's the Wiki low-down on this contraption:
"What is believed to be the world's only Bigfoot trap is located in the Siskiyou National Forest in the southern part of Jackson County, Oregon... The trap is a wooden box 10 by 10 feet (3 by 3 m) made of 2x12 planks bound together by heavy metal bands and secured to the ground by telephone poles... Its location was originally remote and predicted to be a good place for a Bigfoot migration, but since the construction of the Applegate Dam, a road is now near the trap... The trap was built in 1974 by the North American Wildlife Research Team (NAWRT), a now-defunct organization based in Eugene, Oregon... NAWRT operated the trap, keeping it baited with carcasses for six years, but caught only bears... The Forest Service keeps an eye on the device, but otherwise does not maintain it." --WikipediaIt really does not get much better than that. I always kind of felt that Oregon was a quirky, off-beat sort of place where just about anything can happen. This proves it.
Thinking about baiting Bigfoot made me wonder if they like mushrooms. If they do, what kind(s) do they prefer? It seemed to me that Bigfoot's dinnertime favourite would make a very suitable choice for my mycological magickal working. I failed to find out if they have any interest in mushrooms -- most references to mushrooms & Bigfoot involved sightings of Bigfoot by morel hunters. (Apparently, morel hunters are lurking in forests everywhere & are eyewitness to all sorts of shenanigans, but I digress...)
What I did discover while I was failing to find Bigfoot's culinary delights was this: Psathyrella aquatica. On a website advertising a 'Sasquatch timepiece,' I found an article about the discovery of an underwater mushroom in Oregon. Seriously?!? I thought this had to be a hoax, so I looked into the scientific literature. In a press release from Southern Oregon University, I read this:
"Psathyrella aquatica is a new species of Basidiomycota with true gills that has been observed fruiting underwater in the clear, cold, flowing waters of the upper Rogue River in Oregon. Fruiting bodies develop and mature in the main channel, constantly submerged, near aquatic vegetation... Spores were observed as wedge-shaped rafts released into a gas pocket under the cap. Underwater gills and ballistospores indicate a recent adaptation to the stream environment."The mind simply reels.
There's a great deal more to this over-the-top, flabbergasting fungus but what really struck home was a comment made on the UCB Botanical Gardens forums suggesting that this particular mushroom fits into a "missing link" evolutionary category. Robert Coffman, the hydrologist who discovered this mushroom asks, "If this evolved in Oregon, what are the odds it can be found in streams and rivers around the world? This raises all kinds of questions about spore disbursement and evolution." It also means that there is a whole new realm for hunting mushrooms!
Since I did not deal with Oregon yesterday, I will have to do the work tonight. As fortune has it, they are happy little saprophytes, so they fit the plan, while also offering an interesting Water elemental angle (the possibilities!). Better sleep on that.
Missing links. Who knew?
|Psathyrella aquatica. Photo by Robert Coffan.|