Pray to the Moon when She is round,
Luck with you will then abound,
What you seek for shall be found
On the sea or solid ground.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Transforming "Spiritual Warfare": Day 29 (Alabama)

Old Alabama State Capitol ruins in Tuscaloosa, AL. Courtesy WikiCommons.
Old Alabama State Capitol ruins in Tuscaloosa, AL. Courtesy WikiCommons.

Alabama -- stuff just returning to the Earth everywhere.

The photo above features the old Alabama State Capitol which was devastated by a fire in 1923, but the ruins of which are still hanging about, looking sloppy to some, I am sure. I personally really like them. They lend a sort of "old country" ruins feel to this land which is generally devoid of those old-school Western-style architectural remains. Sadly, there's only a wee bit remaining of this structure because a) locals had a salvage heyday with it (I can't really blame them) & b) those folks who considered it an eyesore had their way with it in the 1930's. They had all but the section in the photo leveled & dumped into a nearby ravine. Then they landscaped it & named it Capitol Park.

Well anyway, there's more to this crazy state capitol story. If you didn't know, Alabama's first state capitol was in a place called Cahawba which is now a totally awesome ghost town chock-full of old beautiful old abandoned buildings & stories of hauntings to accompany them. Luckily for Cahawba, there are some folks working their tails off to preserve it. Anyway, in 1826, the powers that were up & moved the capitol to Tuscaloosa, site of those lovely old ruins above. Then, in 1846 the fickle leadership again felt the need for new climes & picked up their bags with sights on Mongomery. The first capitol building in Mongomery stuck to the cosmic pattern & burned down after only two years... Strange, so many fires in such a wet place.

So, what is the point? Well, I learned all about this capitol madness (& so much more!) while on an Alabama history tangent following my discovery of this:

Marianne, Courtesy WikiCommons.
Marianne, Courtesy WikiCommons.
Statue of Marianne
French Goddess of Liberty 

" in the covered atrium of the Old City Hall... in the U.S. city of Mobile, Alabama. This statue, and many others that are no longer extant, originally crowned the pediments of the 1889 Mobile County Courthouse... damaged in hurricanes in 1906 and 1916, and was demolished in the 1950s." -- Wikimedia Commons (emphasis mine)

Is she not FABULOUS? Right there in Mobile, Alabama! Marianne is described as an "allegory of Liberty & Reason" & she is standing around in a museum for everyone to see after someone had the sense to make sure she was preserved. Yes! Liberty endures, even in ruin-strewn Alabama! Now that, my friends, gives me goosebumps.

With that blessing, onward to the fungi!

I found this fascinating project ongoing at the University of Alabama which is focusing on Chytrids. Chytrids are "swarmers," or fungi which produce special spores called zoospores. What makes these spores so special is that they can move on their own using a single or a pair of flagella. If that isn't weird enough, these 'swarm spores' parasitize insects, nematodes & other invertebrates. Weirder still however, is that the spores of one Chytrid are known to parasitize over ninety different species of amphibians & are believed to be responsible for extinctions & heavy death tolls of frogs & other amphibians around the world. Heavy.

Phylogeny of Fungi, found here.
But before we get all bent out of shape about the frog-killing (which is pretty depressing -- I just had to look), let's consider the rest of the story. Chytrids hold an esteemed place in evolutionary history: they are "first among fungus." The oldest fossil fungi thus far discovered are chytrid-like forms from the Vendian Period (650 to 543 Million Years Ago). Also, many different, very fine fossil Chytrid specimens have been found from the Devonian (417 to 354 Million Years Ago), indicating that even at that early date, they had already diversified. This means that frog-killers or no, they are absolutely awesome in their ancientness.

Adding to this sheer greatness are their essential functions both as parasites & saprophytes in aquatic (both freshwater & marine) & terrestrial environments across the globe -- from the arctic to the tropics. As parasites, it is believed that they provide an important role in aquatic food webs as population stabilizers. As saprophytes, they help nearly everywhere, using their powers of decomposition to break down plant matter & invertebrate remains. It appears our world is rife with these microscopic nutrient recyclers. Perfect.

So, magick. How to? These beasties are small! 

For a visual, some of them look like this:

Allomyces, image found at UC Berekley.
Allomyces, image found at UC Berekley.
or like this:

Physocladia, found at U of Alabama.
Physocladia, found at U of Alabama.

or a whole number of really very lovely variations which can be viewed at the Chrytid Photogallery.

Because they are so small, I am also visualizing habitat. They hang out in places like the Ebenezer Swamp Ecological Preserve which is part of the Cahawba River system:

Ebenezer Swamp Ecological Preserve, courtesy WikiMedia Commons.
Ebenezer Swamp Ecological Preserve, courtesy WikiMedia Commons.

Ok, go cleanup team! 

...Really, trying to direct these ancient experts any more explicitly would just be insulting, no? 

May Liberty continue to prevail while stuff just keeps returning to the Earth, everywhere in Alabama.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...