Return of Ice Fungus in 2013

Saturday, January 12th, 2013

Ice Needle Mushroom, Narashino

I know its going to be a cold one when I step out my front door at 7 a.m. and my cheeks sting.  It is the kind of weather no matter how many strategically layered clothes I don in the morning I know I am just going to be cold.  As I was stepping out onto the street this Friday, it was one of those days.  The wind was blowing, and my cheeks were telling me be ready for the coldest day thus far this winter.

I kept my eyes peeled for the ice fungus on the way to the bus stop, but I didn’t spot any.  I spotted some signs that there may have been some a few days ago, but there wasn’t any as I fidgeted about waiting for my bus to come.  Stepping on to a warm bus feels so good on this winter days.  Japanese busses and trains have large box heaters under the seats, on a day like today I sought out a seat that would keep my feet toasty.

I transferred to the Tozai subway line and the subway trip was uneventful.  At this early hour and lack of sleep the previous night I drift in and out of my dreamworld.  Opening my eyes from time to time to see Chiba suburbs blur.  My eyes tire and they quickly fall shut.

Stepping off the train at Tsudanuma, I knew it was a little colder here than when I had left Kasai.  Not by much, but enough to make a difference.  I again paced in place as bus after bus arrived that weren’t for me.  At last I was able to catch the bus and plunk myself down on a warm seat.

This bus on Friday is always packed with Toho Junior High School students.  The noise is unbelievable.  So much yapping, gapping, gaming, and just plain annoying leveled frequencies.  I pull my fully hat over my ears, shut my eyes and allow my mind to just wander.

I get off at the end of the line.  The bus drops us off, circles around, and then makes the same route back to the station.  The air was brisk, and I immediately search the ground with my eyes.  I see the tell tale signs of the return of the ice fungus aka ice needles.  Tiny clumps of earth have broken from the ground and pushed up towards the cloudless skies.  They all shined in the early morning light.

My flesh may have been cold from the winds blowing in from Siberia, but my soul was warmed by the return of the ice fungus.  I was reminded that my friend, Akiko said when she was a little girl and she and her friends would love to hear the crunching sound of the ice fungus under their boots.  I am sure if was young it would have been a lot like popping bubble wrap, once you start you just can’t stop.

I don’t care what people thing about this seemingly crazy foreigner on his hands and knees taking pictures of dirt.  I am sure all artist out there know what it is like to be in the zone, and doing whatever it takes to get creation that you want.  I just block it out.  In fact, I don’t even think about it anymore.

I am joyous in the fact that the ice fungus have decided to bless my day.  Their shining threads awaken my cold soul.  The icy cold has a way of giving me warmth in my heart.

I wish all a pleasant, restful, and meditative day of rest.

Shalom from Kasai, with warming ice fungus in my soul.


Ice Fungus in Morning Light


The Tip of the Ice Needle, Ice Fungi, Narashino

Early Return of the Ice Fungi, Ice Needles, しもばしら

Tuesday, December 11th, 2012

Ice Fungi, 2012, Kasai 02

I am always completely captivated by the arrival of the ice needles, or as I have penned them as ice fungi.  This wonderful creations occur when the air temperature drops below freezing yet the ground stays above freezing.  A wicking of the moisture begins and as it encounters the frigid air the water freezes.  They often have heads of earth with in my fanciful eye take after the spontaneous nature of fungus.

As far as I can remember this is the earliest in winter that I have seen them.  I usually do not encounter them until mid January.  It was, for this Miami boy, a cold night; however, it was beautiful to notice these sprouting next to the bus stop in the early morning hours.

I look forward to ice shrooming this winter to see what I can find.
Ice Fungi, 2012, Kasai 01


Sunday, February 7th, 2010

The ice-shrooms reappeared the other day this week.  These strings of crystals are angel hair pasta.  Fragile and delicate in the early morning light.

Ice Crystal Mushrooms 2

Ice Crystal Mushrooms 1

Ice Fungi Crystals

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

On my way in to work today I noticed ice on the ground for the first time.  It was completely covering some grassy knolls outside.  I hunched down to have a closer look at the ice and was amazed that the ice crystals were as thin as hairs and look liked nothing I have ever seen before.  Ok, so those of you who know me, are probably saying, “This boy is from Miami, what does he know about ice?”  Well I know nothing, but I still were looking at these Angel Hair like Enoki Mushroom ice crystals.  I picked one bunch up in my leather gloved hands, and squished the delicate crystals.  So for me, a boy from the rock bottom, they were magical.

Ice Fungi 1

Ice Fungi 2

Ice Fungi 3

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