Mourning mushrooms’ wise wild elder

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GARY LINCOFF … Having come from immigrant shopkeepers, and a second generation of professionals – many of them doctors – Gary took a different tack. He studied philosophy in college and then took up with mushrooms. As he explained, “Perhaps because it was thought at the time as being of no account, a mere curiosity of nature, something that rotted everything else. My grandfather even had to say to me, when my behavior was already too far along to be corrected, ‘I like lettuce BUT I don’t study it!’ … Somehow I knew I was on the right track” … He not only studied mushrooms and plants all his life, much of it spent in Central Park, he also became a national expert on them. But he never fell into the role of stuffy pedant, sometimes common in mycological society circles in the Sixties, back when I started pursuing fungal entanglements … Gary was a hoot. He loved to dress up like a mushroom, or in increasingly bizarre and outlandish costumes, and drum his way down Telluride’s main street at the annual Mushroom Festival parade. Or to take a crew of late-night psychonauts on a guided field trip around Telluride, telling stories, giggling and laughing. Or to be the one to find the light of the moon inside a condo fridge, and have most of the room rolling around hysterically on the carpet … But his creds were impeccable. The Audubon Field Guide. New York Botanical Gardens. Multiple books. … Though he was happy to lump with the lumpers, he could split with the best of them … Check his Facebook page to learn the depth of the fungal soil he touched in so many … “Raconteur extraordinaire, but most of all a premiere friend of fungus” — Maria Reidelbach … “One of the most respected, brilliant, funny, charming mycologists” – Ethan Crenson … “His sense of humor was off the charts … I considered him to be the heart and soul of the Telluride Mushroom Festival” – Dr. Joel Kaufman … “Merry prankster, a voice for the mycological world, and all around fantastic human being” — Shangri Devi

POT SAFER THAN BOOZE … According to the latest issue of the University of Colorado’s Colorado Arts and Sciences Magazine, new research from the CU Change Lab suggests that longterm alcohol use is “much more damaging to the brain” than cannabis. This contradicts long-held misinformation on cannabinoid products, due mostly to a paucity of scientific studies. The CU study, published in the journal Addiction (www.addi c t ionjour na l . org), examined the brains of more than 1,000 participants of varying ages … Together with other studies just coming to light, cannabis is being shown to have numerous potential public health benefits, contrary to its untrue FDA listing as a Schedule I drug “defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse” … Meanwhile, the current opioid crisis belies their listing as Schedule II drugs, a clear example of federal mismanagement of these two substances … That communities like Norwood in San Miguel County continue to license liquor stores and refuse to license even one cannabis store in their towns is an ongoing example of unscientific thinking that perpetuates an inappropriate and unhealthy bias for booze and against pot.

NEW MEX POET TOUR … I’ve been visiting the Land of Enchantment (or is it the Land of Entrapment?) for 40 years. In fact, I was conceived there, though born in California. So I feel a certain affinity … Bill Nevins and his partner Jeannie Allen hosted me for a sweet reading at Angelfire (where baker and surprise audience member Danny Sanchez, once of Norwood and now of Taos, caught up with me) … Bill & Jeannie also hooked me up with Jules Playhouse in “Burque” – a marvelous house of poetry downtown, where I also got to read. Placitas poet Larry Goodell taped the evening and has it airing on his Duende Bandcamp website (also showing on FB) … But the largest crowd came to Teatro Paraguas in Santa Fe where Debbi Brody and Robyn Hunt joined me for a lively alternating voice show, In Awe of Nature.

IGNACIO … I took a little detour out of Durango to visit the Southern Ute Reservation and made a surprise call on the team from the Sun Ute Recreation Center that brought two van-loads of Ute kids to ski in Telluride a week in early March. I got a warm welcome … Virgil Morgan is the acting recreation manager, Shalaunda Roan is recreation coordinator, Kelsey Frost and Angelo Valdez are recreation specialists. We talked about doing a summer program – getting Ute youth up to San Miguel County for hiking, camping, fishing, star-gazing, and maybe even disc golf … Having made a formal apology for the shameful events of 130 some years ago when the Utes were forcibly moved onto small reservations and settlers took over the land they’d occupied for hundreds of years, San Miguel County and the Telluride Institute have been trying to establish exchanges with our Tribal neighbors to work towards healing and education. And frankly, it’s been inspiring to work with all three current Ute Tribes – the Southern Utes, the Ute Mountain Utes and the Ute Indian Tribe in Utah. The hope at the Telluride Institute is that we can move past the sad history of our collective pasts and become better friends and neighbors … And I think the changes at the Ute Indian Museum in Montrose reflect that same intent.

UTE SUITS … The Ute Indian Nation in Fort Duchesne filed two lawsuits in Washington, D.C., recently that could shake up the Inner Basin West. One seeks compensation in the Court of Federal Claims, contending that mineral royalties, grazing fees and proceeds from sales related to the original trust lands granted to the Uncompahgre and White River bands after their forced removal from Colorado, and then transferred into BLM jurisdiction, still belong to the tribe … The other action, filed in U.S. District Court, seeks a court declaration transferring title of “surplus land” that is currently under purview of the BLM that the federal government failed to sell or had given to Utah as trust lands … Tribal lawyer Jeremy Patterson told the Salt Lake Tribune, “The taking of homelands is the most devastating act taken against an Indian nation.”

Art Goodtimes writes from San Miguel County, Colo.


Vernal Equinox 2018
and still it turns…. Galileo Galilei

“How many of you
can dance on the head of a pin?”
I ask an angel.
A dandelion laughs and blows
a thousand seeds into the air.
“Something like that,” the angel answers.
“Come with me and see.”

A purple crocus pushes up through snow,
a flock of robins appears,
red wings call at dawn,
light at eve.

Oh tell me that your cells aren’t singing
as sap rises in the trees
and buds swell,
that you at any age aren’t ready
to be born.

Yes, the Arctic is melting,
and species disappear,
Earth is getting warmer,
forests burn.
Yes, storms are getting wilder

…and still it turns.

—Amalia Hannon
New Jersey

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From Art Goodtimes.