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Jedediah Purdy @JedediahSPurdy
, 4 tweets, 1 min read Read on Twitter
Tonight, huddled in the upturned roots of a windfelled, 100-yr-old red oak, as dusk went dark, I sat with foxfire--the fabled bioluminescence of Appalachia. Imagine the base of a tree, & affiliated mushrooms, glowing quietly like the stars on the ceiling of a childhood bedroom.
Evolutionarily speaking, it clearly developed to quality to maximize dispersal through literary tropes. Wikipedia says it has appeared in Aristotle, Pliny the Elder, H.P. Lovecraft, Mark Twain, Lassie, and the X Files, to name a few.
There's also a tragic dimension: the foxfire fungus is feeding on the roots of these old red oaks, helping to bring them down. It's the glow of life turning back to soil.
Foxfire also reminds me how much time people used to spend in true dark. If you were using a flashlight, you would not see it. It glows relative to darkness, not relative to 9V of light. Our technological age could last forever & not discover it.
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