Dearest Mycelial Network,
___You’re a fungi. I’m a fun-gal. The fungus is certainly amongus. We got culture, baby. It’s hard to say when my passion for you really cultivated, because I believe my household as a child had a huge impact on this insight. And no I don’t mean the nurturing of the household, but more of the nature of the house. Physically. At age 8, my family ended up moving out of our house in the middle of the night due to what is now referred to as sick building syndrome. Our house was alive and infested with your mold. What was growing in our walls was growing in our lungs. My whole family was getting sicker and sicker, until finally there were too many symptoms. We had enough, and moved into a hotel over night. Our dog was losing his hair and developing rough scabs in place. My sister developed asthma and blacked out on the soccer field. I personally didn’t develop any enamel on my teeth and now have capped all of my molars due to severe sensitivity. On the contrary, I haven’t had a real illness since I lived in that house, so thank you fungus for your persistent exposure and building up my immunity! Aaaand, now I have a theory that your powerful fungal spores planted into my brain and are now forcing me to study mycology in hopes to inoculate the whole world 😉
___Soo around my sophomore year of college, with this awesome immunity I was quite confident that I wanted to go into the medical field. I started shadowing a mycologist at Appalachian State University, Dr. Coleman McCleneghan, and she took me around to many forays and mushroom conferences! It was that summer that I really fell so passionately obsessed with you, Mycology, learning more and more about your endless vortex of applications! If I was to be prescribing your medicinal mushrooms, I wanted to learn how you interacted with surrounding environments. If you were grown in a polluted city would you have the same medicinal constituents if you were grown in pristine mountains? How would you respond to chemicals and heavy metals in the air, water, and soil? It was that summer at the Asheville Mushroom Club’s Fall Foray 2011 that I attended a lecture by Tradd Cotter, owner of Mushroom Mountain. This was my first exposure into your intellectual capabilities to purify water and soil of all these recalcitrant industrial toxins. This absolutely captivated me, for it makes so much sense that your mushrooms, vital to the recycling of dead matter into new fertile soil, just also happened to break down these chemicals! When people ask me what I study now, I say preventative medicine!
___I’ve had recent projects studying, applying, and filming mycoremediation- trying to shed light on this kingdom and make new ideas tangible. A huge focus in today’s world is applying your powerful digestive enzymes to filtration of water and soil for DIY-grassroots Average Jane’s remediation of fracking/oil spills, heavy metals, fluoridation, pesticides…and much more yet to be understood. I find it so important when studying fungal applications, to stay passionately respectful to your prevailing capabilities. We have so much to learn from your kingdom that has been intellectually adapting to ever-changing environments for the past ~900 million years. It is important for us humans to keep in mind that we are not training or taking advantage of you, we are simply re-applying your brilliant abilities. If one organism’s shit is another organism’s treasure, why then do we humans have so many waste products? Almighty Fungus, teach us the ways to live symbiotically in our ecosystem. Teach us to purify and recycle our water, while recycling our trash into new nutrients. Teach us how not to be a parasite to our own home. And teach us beyond- Teach us the infinite metaphors to adopt from fungi into our human lives…teach us the medicinal edibles for our internal ecosystem… teach us how to adopt a mycorrhizal symbiosis and bring nutrients and water to support the health of our local, external ecosystem… teach us how to decompose artificial constructs… and teach us more as your mycelial vortex continues to spiral out and adapt to the changing of the world.
Cheers to the facilitators of life,
Pictured here is miss Lexie Gropper with the mushroom Auricula auricularia (Wood ear mushroom) in replacement of her human ear because she truly is a fun-gal extraordinaire! Lexie is a bio-remediator in training with a particular focus on mycology. She is graduating with her undergraduate in Biology: Environmental Sciences from Appalachian State University. She finds her religious views in nature and strives to adopt bio-mimicry and permaculture into her daily mentality and actions. Attempting to understand the cosmic relationships between the trophic levels, she is also fascinated with cinematography and documenting grassroots DIY projects.