Ice Fungi

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

Ice Fungi has Sprung Again in Japan

Saturday, January 28th, 2012

Ice Fungi, Ice Needles しもばしら【霜柱】01

The ice fungi has again sprung again in Japan.  I have never seen them before coming to Japan.  In reality they have a a given name of ice needles or ice columns, but I still prefer my given word of ice fungi.  They seemingly sprout over night when the conditions are just right.  In fact there are so many creative names given to this phenomenon:  ice castles, frost castles, ice fringes, ice filaments, ice flowers, ice ribbons, frost flowers,  and rabbit ice.  All so beautiful, but again I got to go with my my heart and I just love the sound of ice fungi.

Those conditions are the ground is not frozen, but the surrounding air is below the freezing point.  The water is quickly crystalized out of the ground and freeze in the air.  Leaving behind stunning patterns of ice that sprout forth out the ground.  They often have little earthen heads, which agains leads me to call them ice fungi.

They are tiny.  So tiny most people shuffle on by with out paying them any notice.  For me, they freeze me in my tracks, and I have to get down on my hands and knees to peep them in their frozen beauty.  The patterns, and variations are endless.

The mysteries of the world are sometimes right there in our field of vision.  The choice is ours if we choose to see what is right there.  Or, are we just going to pass them on by like the sleeping masses.

Ice Fungi, Ice Needles しもばしら【霜柱】02

 

Ice Fungi, Ice Needles しもばしら【霜柱】03

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