Some good questions begin with a problem – What to do in a certain situation. If we do not have problems, then we are at a loss as to what to do. Firstly, one can consider the situation uncertain. So, what is the situation.
At a crossroads in my life, and a path traditionally travelled is now closed to me, due to social exclusion by the opinion of a judgemental committee. So much for live, and let live. I am into biodiversity, to the exclusion of some other disciplines. People create problems for other people, and sometimes, those in power say, no. Now, why accept this? What can you do? No, is no.
The divergence between the amplified and the once off provides a description of where one is at, when one is reviewing one’s previous media. If you have populated your persona already, there is limited room to refresh or redirect where one is at, with one’s media. By that I mean: the back catalogue of output, potentially on recurring themes.
I have not posted on the lichenfoxie site, for a while now. I must acknowledge here an Irish lady lecturing in Wales, with whom I have corresponded, about a poem broadcast on the BBC4 about a shield bug, who compellingly asked me to continue to post online. I am beginning to wonder where the blog roll is going – a catalogue of examples of things that exercise me, so that people can benefit from my mistakes, without making them themselves. Fact checking in botany, is part of the process that protects us from delusion and error. We also need a supply of species concepts – ideas from the books – that broaden our expectation, to make us receptive to our encounters with nature. I am beginning to get exercised and reenergized by Corracloona, our townland, and the natural history here. Bactridium flavum was in a photograph on a rotten stick from the townland, and it recalled 20 years of memory, having been seen on the mycologists Fermanagh foray on Lusty Beg in October 2000. Maria says we now have information on 460 species in the townland of Corracloona on the computer, and we need to bring our investigations from 2018, 2019 and 2020 to a close. There are photographs of most of the species, at least a hundred that are of a passable publishable standard.
On Sunday from about noon, 15 November, we went for a wander, in the company of Ciaran Rock, starting at the Sean MacDuirmuida cottage, taking in Tricholoma saponaceum, a mushroom troop under the Thuja plicata, a starting hypothesis for the shelter belt trees; three kinds of Hygrocybe: niveum, with a normal scent, and two red ones; one gregarious and small and another larger solitary one. Up the lane to a sheep field with a triangulation point, overlooking the hedge school location that Ciaran explained, has a set of boulders, glacial erratics, fragments with Sphaerophorus fragilis on peat, Parmelia omphalodes, Parmelia saxatilis on the edges of a peat free boulder top. The willow in the corner has Sticta limbata in quantity on the trunk face downslope towards the Upper Lough Mac Nean. This is a once off in the townland and the greater part of the south side of the lake, we are in Old Kiltyclougher here. The species density is exceptional. Twenty or so kinds in a small area. A mushroom lichen led us to this. Along the fence with the bog to the west is Omphalina ericetorum, a half lichen half mushroom on the peat by the fence, which now goes by the genus name Lichenomphalia. Punctelia seems to be a new genus placement, a synonymy for Phacopsis oxyspora, formerly Nesolechia oxyspora, as a consequence of genetic bioinformatic studies. The oxyspora was on a willow branch too, on Parmelia sulcata.
The bag of twigs of rowan and willow from the triangulation point field OSNI number 3610 (if recalled correctly, photographed on the south face) from the Sunday walk, dry in the living room, and are to be hung in the hall. Other samples are sought to add 6 specimens to a batch that is being worked upon. Bringing the threads of enquiry together is a frequent task, and one of the key elements of closure in research. Maybe I am too French in my sentiment, and tolerant of the mystery. When the answer is no, in what should be a factual situation, and the judgement is flawed, it is a choice that is hard to accept. If you believe it is just, then peace follows. Justice brings peace. But then again there are many justices, and it is a choice of selecting behaviours that are consistent with that, in order to keep excitable peers at bay. For a singleton, acting as an individual, in as mentally free a scenario as one can, is an optimisation one aspires to. Not getting tangled in traps is hard work, and releasing oneself from them takes cooperation. The confidence of managing these turns of adversity probably comes with experience, and we will get there, in due course.
How are you doing – a question not frequently asked – can be the type of question that gets a reader opened up. There is the seeking of empathy, and then there is advice, simplify and let go. It takes many situations to force you to confront one’s fear, and the narrowing of avoidance options is one of those social constraints that lead us to such traps. I am still uncertain what this blog is for. Is it a text to reach for communion among a wider society, or is it just a valve, into the echo chamber, indicating our experience as humans? In recent weeks, some of our thoughts have been with the other mammals in the townland and how they are faring in the incessant damp weather. Their need for warmth, succour, security and the essentials for a contented life. My mindscape is exploring an insular idyll, a civilisation in isolation, and building infrastructure for that society, as it applies to my skills as a botanist. The balance between competing tasks shows a sense of priority, and sometimes there is not the time, at that moment, to attend to long-term goals and the short-term details that get you there. Then there is the encouragement of taking 30 days to achieve something – a course – that needs to be stayed, – persistence, good advice and focus.
All the best,