July 12th was a typical hot summer day. Until late afternoon. Then black clouds billowed out of the northwest wiping out the sun and trailing thunder so loud it hurt the ears.
It was fury unleashed as the storm pounded the house and turned deck and driveway white with hail.
When the cacophony finally stopped about half an hour later we ventured outside. Nearly 4 cm of water — more than 1.5 inches — sat in the rain gauge. Flower and vegetable gardens resembled huge tossed salads.
In the woods we found the remains of a recently opened wood lily, one petal still clinging to the stem. Pockets of moss held handfuls of white stones (that were still there two days later).
In spite of the damage much of the gardens will recover. That’s the nature of plants.
As for the woods? They were transformed — filled suddenly with light, branches sparkling crystal-like with rain, mist floating in the air …
… the wonder of a storm.
But sun still beams in the garden.
Just Add Water featured mushrooms that sprang up following our recent heavy rains.
Before the woods dried out I sought them out again. I was not disappointed.
I found them growing along animal trails, in thick feather moss, on rotting wood, in squirrel middens — tall, short, thin, thick, solitary and bunched together. Such an array.
These intriguing fungi spend their lives underground. For brief moments they pop up into the world of light, produce spores, then retreat again to darkness. If we’re lucky we catch a glimpse of this wonder.
A gorgeous pattern of light and shadow
Just emerging from the dark
Upwards, ever upwards
A woodland dance
Smooth as satin
Already past their prime
Small insects live within and off mushroom gills
P.S. The fungi in the featured image were growing on a rotting branch. I turned it upwards to take this photo — then carefully replaced it back in its original position. Let’s walk lightly with as little disruption as possible.
Transform parched soil.
Now in damp stillness
Caps and stems
Dot the forest duff
Like tiny lights or parasols or stools for tired toads.
Orange puffballs growing on rotting wood
While many mushrooms favour forest litter, some are happy amid the grass.
Different species often grow side-by-side.
A family grouping.
Seen from underneath ordinary mushrooms show amazing beauty.
Tight growing quarters.
These tiny mushrooms are barely an inch tall. This patch contained hundreds of them.
Found this solitary fungus as it caught the sun’s dying light.
How much did it rain? they asked.
Enough to drive earthworms up out of the dark
Out of the water-soaked earth
Better to breathe air in the light
To face the beaks of birds
Than drown in safety under ground.
Earthworm Lumbricus terrestris
Amid this late-day summer storm
Upon the deck.
The expression “drowned rat” came to mind when I found this bedraggled bumblebee.
Over the last two days more than 5 cm (about 2 in) of rain has fallen in sudden heavy downpours. Not everyone found shelter before the storms hit.
Its usual soft fuzzy hair is plastered flat, exposing the shiny black exoskeleton — a new view of a familiar garden visitor.
A bad hair day? Definitely.
Bumblebee Bombus spp.
A dark storm engorged with rain
Fell, full strength, upon us
Left beauty in its wake.
Lodgepole pine Pinus contorta
Ripples pause at 1/160.
Time stops. So do I.
Ripples on deck
Ripples on deck
Ripples on deck
Not many flowers in bloom yet, besides dandelions and wild strawberries.
I was delighted to spot these little rain-bedecked blossoms on the edge of the woods.
Bright blue flowers on a drooping stem.
Depending on where you live, you might know this plant as northern bells, chiming bells or tall lungwort.
Tall bluebells Mertenisa paniculata