I learned the word Deliquesce when I looked up a little mushroom I discovered in a field near my home. The spores had probably been dormant in this spot for months, maybe years, waiting for the right amount of moisture and shade to occur for them to grow. The mushrooms started as small white bulbs in the morning, developing drippy black skirts by midday, collapsing into smudgy heaps by the afternoon when the remaining slurry became a tasty dinner for several lucky darkling beetles.
The word deliquesce comes from the Latin, de (down) + liquescere (become liquid) meaning to dissolve or liquefy. The Inky Cap, also called “Coprinus” meaning, “ink,” is not a poisonous mushroom, unless you wash it down with an alcoholic beverage. This will immediately bring on the symptoms of a hellish hangover, earning it the alternate name “tippler’s bane.”
Mushrooms occupy a precarious space in nature, needing the correct balance of light, water, food, temperature, and habitat to reproduce and grow. Sort of like us. But unlike mushrooms, we can’t suspend our lives until conditions improve.
The life cycle of the Inky Cap mushroom is a beautiful metaphor for the fragility of life and cycles of regeneration.
Deliquesce is 12″ x 36″ oil on cradled birch, available in my studio.