I wasn’t going to post today – St. Stephen’s/Boxing day, this being one of my designated non-writing days but the Galway weather has once again kept me from the garden so instead we went down to the woods where the dense trees provide such shelter you can almost forget about the wind and rain.
As we followed Sheba, our German Shepherd, along one of her favourite off-path trails, we came across this unexpected burst of red among the browns and greens. It stood out like a burning coal in a dormant fire. In years of woodland walking I have never seen this little beauty before.
To my untrained eye it looked like a cross between a mushroom and a rose bud. Too beautiful to be a fungus? However, I looked it up on Wikipedia and I think it might be Sarcoscypha coccinea, also known as a scarlet elf cup, scarlet elf cap, or a scarlet cup. (If anyone knows better please let me know.)
FUNGUS OR NOT?
I personally find the middle name, the ‘scarlet elf cap’ the more appealing of the three, and I could certainly imagine an elf wearing one of these as a cap.
THE ELF SITS HERE
I could also imagine the scarlet cap wearing elf sitting right here on this colourful tree stump.
This was the second colourful discovery we made on today’s walk. Last time we passed this tree stump, a couple of weeks ago, it was covered in loose bark but the recent storm must have been washed it away and uncovered this beautifully textured rainbow on wood.
The fragrance, the changing colours, the tree-fresh air of the woods are some of the last things they still haven’t figured out a way to charge us for – we should enjoy it while we still can.
You can see what else I’ve found on my woodland walks here.