Eyes Enough & Understanding

Eyes Enough & Understanding

My wife, Maggie, and I have had several opportunities to travel to Europe over the past two decades, and on recent trips, we’ve photographed a wide range of melancholy ruins and breathtaking panoramas to illustrate the articles I’ve published. But we’ve learned to take pictures of smaller and less obvious subjects as well. Among these are shelf mushrooms or, to give them their more scientific name, polypores—fungi that grow on the trunks or branches of trees.

Chances are you’ve seen shelf mushrooms, but you may not have given them much thought. Size aside, they’re as ingenious in design as the Parthenon, and far more intricate. Andrew Marvell lamented our lack of “world enough and time,” but we need eyes enough and understanding if we’re to take advantage of the world and time that we do have.

My two photographs show shelf mushrooms on the trunks of a tamarisk in Donostia (San Sebastián) in Spain’s Basque Country and an acacia in Orebić, Croatia.

Photographs and text by Grove Koger

Grove Koger is the author of When the Going Was Good: A Guide to the 99 Best Narratives of Travel, Exploration, and Adventure (Scarecrow Press, 2002) and Assistant Editor of Deus Loci: The Lawrence Durrell Journal. He lives in Idaho and blogs about travel and related matters at worldenoughblog.wordpress.com.