|Under the live oaks of a Florida Highway. Stereoscopic viewer image. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.|
I keep getting hung up. Hung up on minutiae. So I spent the past couple of days agonizing over the polypore I chose -- or was chosen by -- for the Florida working.
Is it found in Florida? Absolutely yes.
Have I met it before? This is a murky point.
Does it fit the plan? This is an even murkier point.
Florida (Fort Lauderdale, to be exact) is the place we spent several hours dragging about an enormous (& enormously heavy) framed painting by Felix Mas, while we searched for a parcel service that would ship the thing because our airline refused to allow us board the plane with it (it was too big) or check it (it was too big). No one wanted to deal with it because art is a dirty word in the shipping business, especially very large art.
It was a sweaty, weepy time. We had just disembarked from the ship that took us to an island to get married & here we were, dragging about a behemoth in the stinking heat, in a city we didn't know at all, with a timeline.
I decided this was not a productive way to visualize Florida. I poked around & was enchanted by the oak trees -- this is the Florida I wish I had experienced (sans painting). Excellent. Next, a mushroom.
A long, convoluted search process began which took me through many strange places in the electronic ether; art shows, nudist camps, mycological forays, bubble baths, historical sites, RV parks... Anyway, it was all too disorderly & desultory (to borrow a term from a friend) to account for here. I just need to be done with Florida. Having already completed the work, but not the documentation, I am wasting my energies feeling weird about the whole thing.
I opted for the Weeping Polypore, Inonotus dryadeus. It has a slew of other names. I was attracted to it because it is a sweaty thing, or maybe it is a weeping thing, but it reminds me of myself in Florida. Sort of. So here's where I get caught up in the details: this polypore is parasitic on live oak in Florida -- yes, it drains the life of those grand & lovely trees I wish I had had the opportunity to experience. In Florida, it is a well-known menace to the oak community.
But I met it in Alaska. There is quite a bit of vague weirdness & uncertainty from this point forward. Apparently, it is also sort of saprobic, (presumably after it has killed off some of the tree?) & strangely, it also occurs in the Western United States... on firs. Compounding the confusion, I personally have only found it on stumps, or at least I have only photographed it on stumps. It is possible that I have met some other weeping polypore, but Inonotus dryadeus is the only polypore that weeps that even vaguely resembles mine... that I can find anyway.
So do I have the right fungus or not? I really cannot say... but I can agonize. I get caught up on this stuff & have trouble getting over it. When I am piecing together a working, I want everything to fit nicely. But, like my painting, sometimes things don't fit perfectly. Like Florida, sometimes paradise is sweaty & weepy. Besides, we are talking fungi here & they go rogue all the time.
The end result was this: I simply asked this weepy, vampiric beast to give the trees a little break & exploit a slightly different energy source for a short while. While I was at it, I made an appeal to all those spectacular trees, they have the powers of conversion too. Maybe some day I can visit them & offer my thanks in person, painting & sweat free... with tears of gratitude.
"Innonotus dryadeus is not known for it's alacrity." -- from a tree health care forum