Monday, September 13, 2010

A Touch of Whimsy

It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see.
Henry David Thoreau

My backyard has had a prolific crop of toadstools after rains this summer. Every time I looked outside, I thought about elves and fairies hiding in the grass underneath them. Instead of seeing fungi, I saw fairyland apartments.

Some were high rise buildings. (Surely there was a fantastic restaurant with a 360-degree, panoramic view on the top of this fairyland structure.)

There were a few skyscrapers.

Others were tiny studio units.

There was some neighborhood blight.

Before anyone calls for my quick committal to the loony bin, I will plead my case: Doesn't my version of toadstools sound more enticing than the true definition?

"A toadstool is a name given to many umbrella-shaped fungi, mostly of the genus Agaricus. The species are almost numberless. They grow on decaying organic matter."

Yep, that's my yard - decaying organic matter.

So is it any wonder that I prefer to see things a bit differently? It's that whole glass-half-full thing:

"Imagination is more important than knowledge.
For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand,
while imagination embraces the entire world,
and all there ever will be to know and understand."

Albert Einstein, 1879-1955
Nobel Prize for Physics, 1921

Yes, Albert was a little crazy, too, but he had that whole genius thing going on. Me? Not so much, but at least I'm in good company.

And I think this kitty was also looking for playmates under the toadstools.

But maybe the kittens were looking for another creature. In my searching for information about toadstools, I came across this fanciful look from Oliver Herford, a British-born American writer:

The Elf and the Dormouse
Under a toadstool crept a wee elf
Out of the rain to shelter himself
Under a toadstool, sound asleep
Sat a big dormouse, all in a heap.

Trembled the wee elf, frightened and yet
Fearing to fly away lest he get wet
To the next shelter -- maybe a mile!
Sudden the wee elf smiled a wee smile.

Tugged 'til the toadstool toppled in two,
Holding it over him gaily he flew.
Soon he was safe home, dry as could be
Soon woke the dormouse, "Good gracious me!"

"Where is my toadstool?" loud he lamented
And that's how umbrellas first were invented.
Oliver Herford, 1863-1935

Maybe our County Line cats were looking for that dormouse.

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