Autumn

image

I spotted this fine fellow on my way into the woods to walk my dog this morning. It’s a good example of Coprinus comatus, also known as the shaggy ink cap or the lawyer’s wig, among others. I usually refer to it as the shaggy ink cap (or, as I misspoke this morning upon my return – the shaggy inkwell).

This mushroom erupted and flourished in the mere 48 hours since my last visit to this location, or else I was singularly unobservant during my previous trip. Change can occur in a day or two, if you notice. It was the first thing I spotted on this occasion, and I was delighted by its form, standing like a sentry before the wet and bedraggled trees.

I almost expected a demand for a password to gain ingress to the woods.

I got in without having to guess esoteric fungal codes.

It’s been a good summer in Ireland, weather-wise anyway. Thank goodness, because most of the news on all fronts here has been either depressing or maddening. In my experience dwelling on what I can’t change or the idiotic ramblings of our politicians does little to cheer me up so I concentrate on doing something to help.

For instance last Friday was the National Day of Action for the Arts in Ireland, organised by the National Campaign for the Arts (NCFA), and I turned up and supported the demonstration in my local town of Galway. There are times when you need to get off your arse and support the arts. the NCFA has been running a super campaign to alert Irish politicians to the importance of the arts to our economic and cultural health. I’ve emailed my local representatives, courtesy of the NCFA’s fantastically simple online form, and I have even received responses from two politicians: Michael Kitt TD and Paul Connaughton TD.

Here’s a great video from the award-winning Galway-based theatre company Druid, about the importance of the arts to Ireland:

The cuts in funding to the arts in Ireland have been severe already, and with another budget looming those of us working in this sector – be it as a creative person or as part of an creative-focused organisation – know that if we don’t lobby our government we will be the first soft neck stretched upon the chopping block.

Culture NightThis Friday evening, September 24th, is Culture Night in cities and towns across Ireland. Arts and cultural organisations will open their doors to the public until late with hundreds of free events, tours, talks and performances. There should be something to suit everyone.

Why not get out and engage with the vibrant cultural scene in Ireland? It will make you happier than staying indoors to watch the news and become downcast at the latest depressing statistic.

The best thing about the arts is its capacity to have a transformative effect upon people. Seeing a piece of drama, looking at art, listening to music or watching a film can just function to lift our spirits, but sometimes it can even offer the fresh perspective we need to remember that change can mushroom in unexpected corners.