A Family of Mushrooms

Jamie Cooperstein

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Living amongst a world of endless concrete in Center City I didn’t expect to find a wild mushroom colony on the walk home from preschool. Over the summer, my 3.5 year old daughter and I discovered a new route, a shortcut that took us on meandering pathways and through small community courtyards in Society Hill. On this new path, sat three mushrooms in a plot of dirt, each with a separate identity. We called them Mommy, Daddy and Josie to represent our family. They became a focal point of the walk home each day.

At first, two were stark white and one was a more traditional hue of brown, but seemingly overnight the two white mushrooms began to transform into a medley of vibrant colors – purples, pinks and yellows. The colors appeared in concentric circles and resembled watercolors bleeding onto the page. It was a beautiful and shocking transformation. “It was magical,” said Josie.

We began to rush to the mushrooms each day before and after camp to behold their new colorful journey. Each day, the colors became a bit more vibrant and the whiteness of its old identity washed away. We found ourselves commenting on the shape of the mushrooms now too. One had multiple levels and Josie thought that was so silly. The other was incredibly large and flat – about the size of a salad plate. When it rained, they glistened. The third one was so dark and nubby it blended into the dirt and we sometimes even forgot it was there.

Our mushroom family was a delicate reminder of the passage of time when otherwise life seemed to be standing still. It was also a reminder that growth can still take place even when it is least expected. To this day, Josie still takes great pride in making sure the mushrooms are well provided for and I love the extra spring in her step as we approach.

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