Toadstools as shelter

October 14, 2022   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

You’re right – they are poisonous; mushrooms good, toadstools bad but the little man sitting under the one I saw looked comfortable enough. He wore a broad leaf hat on his head and a custom made spider’s web around his shoulders to protect him.

“You’re looking well, Constance,” he greeted me. “What brings you to the woods?”

“Just exchanging whistles with the cardinal; looking for sanity in a crazy world,” I told him, asking, “any of your kin running a rainbow with the infamous pot of gold at its end?”

His laughter at the question was a twinkle in the air.

“You’re part kin, yourself,” he pronounced. “make one of your own.”

He got to his feet and shook himself, making his spiderweb cloak sparkle in the woodland shade. He nodded and off we went walking into the depths of the trees.

Not far along, there were voices, some high pitched, some rumbling and up ahead a little was a clearing filled with light. Overhead, the trees let in the sunlight and fireflies carried their busy beams to brighten the shadows of the undergrowth. Everywhere was busy as though my companion’s kin were setting up for a gathering.

One female shouted a salutation to us, “Hey, here’s Braagh and – look – he has Constance with him! Welcome both,” said she. “We’re nearly ready. Join us!”

There was a sturdy log for me with good dry moss as a cushion. There were plenty of friendly faces, innately cheerful to be sure, yet and yet, there was something different; a sort of fear, a kind of seriousness unusual in such a normally cheerful crowd.

A breath went through them that saw them settle here and there around the clearing, seating themselves variously. Some were so lightweight they were comfortable on blue flowers; others sat on logs like mine, cool moss easing them too.

Suddenly all was very still; bit by bit a glow appeared in our midst, taking on form and detail, then another and the two became clear and dazzling at the same time. Seconds passed and they were formed and solid-looking, their shining eyes sweeping over the gang and presently resting on me. Their voices were like a memory of voice, spoken but not exactly, clear but distant, as though the voices had not come the whole way with them.

“We are glad to see you all,” came the sounds, “and Constance, it’s good you are here. There is great movement among us and we have messages for you to take with you when you go home.”

Accustomed as I am to meeting strange folk, I can tell you, this was different. The jokes were suspended for the moment and it was clear every word mattered.

“We have always been astonished at the mindless violence and self-destructiveness of humans,” the voice began and the blunt comment sent shivers down my spine. “And we have done all we can to quell those failings if only for the sake of the other creatures with whom humanity is privileged to share this sphere.”

A rustle in the trees told us that more than us, with me as the human, was listening. The tweets and murmurs came from the throats of feather and fur and the very trees seemed to bend to hear the voices.

“But” rang like an ancient bell alerting the city of danger.

“But, in this latest era,” they continued, “the dangers are truly fatal – for your species, Constance, for every species and the very land itself.”

They shifted where they stood as if the pain they were detailing was their own as well.

“Nature herself is pounding on humanity with her message of doom and still they carry on with their plans for death of every living thing, as though in some mis-guided place in their thinking, they believe – somehow – that Nature will relent or that some of them will survive.”

As they continued to speak, they created images in the air around us of the storms to come, storms so much worse than those we have seen so far. And not only Nature but the storms men were reigning down on the heads of other humans, other creatures and on the land, storms of unspeakable poison, beside which the toadstool is good for lunch. The terrors and nightmares that filled our vision had us weeping and calling for peace.

Added to all that were the slaves of humanity; the ravaging of the earth – mindless and seemingly unstoppable.

As it began, so did it end and timorous sun beams dared to send down hope.

“There is no hope. Only the strongest and most determined shift to changing the nature of humans can stop this. Even if Nature wasn’t determined to sweep humanity into the sea, humans are helping her bring an end to it all,” came the message. 

Those beings of light advised me: “Take this and tell everyone you can, Constance. Every chance you have – warn them, warn them now.”

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