It was surprising to find mushrooms growing on one of the nearby paddocks this week, albeit a happy surprise. The paddock has a history of cropping, with artificial fertilizers and the usual modern-raping cultivation methods. This ceased nearly ten years ago, and since then has been used to graze sheep, still not an ideal situation on light fragile soils in low rainfall. Yet, after some autumn rains, there they were, little white caps peeking through the dirt and stones.
Then, a couple of days later, I noticed a mushroom had sprung up next to one of my compost bins. As I watched, the resident sleepy lizard wandered over, and with great gusto, proceeded to eat the mushroom! He ate nearly three quarters of it, before moving elsewhere. Never before had I seen a lizard consume fungi…..
This particular lizard during summer liked the flowers of the cucurbits, particularly the cucumbers, and also the flowers on the lucerne and the lippia, and eating a soft juicy tomato absorbed its attention for some time. In other gardens I’ve had to share strawberries with lizards, although this time they are not touched. Perhaps the lizards have individual preferences also.
Another surprise occurred recently when moving a timber sleeper as part of the process of creating a fire-pit for winter evening star-gazing. The sleeper had probably been in the spot for a few years, and as I carefully levered it out of position, a burrowing frog was disturbed from beneath it. I’d expected something to appear, but not a frog! With an apology I moved it to another area where it would not be disturbed again. It is always with a feeling of relief and joy when I find a frog, as they are such a gauge on the health of an area, being so sensitive to poisons. Often I will hear a frog calling from the vicinity of the herb bed and it is a lovely sound to hear. They offer me comfort and joy in an often confronting world, where so much destructive behavior exists in the human species.
Sometimes I am surprised by a fellow human being’s generosity, as occurred this week when a visitor left a unexpected donation to the Hermitage Fund.
Now what was it that C.S. Lewis said, about being “Surprised by Joy”?