Interview with a Wood Ear Mushroom


Brook​ ​Hsu Psyche​ ​1​,​  Oil​ ​on​ ​panel, 8​ ​x​ ​6​ ​in.

I took a trip to Chinatown so that I could find some dried wood ear mushrooms. They came in a funny little box, like the kind a toy prize might be stuffed into. I brought the box back to my room in The Bronx. In a large bowl, I mixed the wood ears with some warm water. Very quickly they started to grow and they became fleshy and less bark-like. More than any of the other mushrooms, one looks especially like a human ear. Its darling ear shape makes me happy and I feel comfortable. I start talking to it, and the wood ear replies.

Me: What’s one of the most important things you do in your life?

Wood Ear: Look at the sky.

Do you ever think about how much the sunlight and the sky vary from place to place?

I think about it all of the time! I also think about how artists make artifacts of this phenomenon. Albert Pinkham Ryder painted the most incredible night sky that one can only really see in the New York area. Georgia O’Keefe painted those fat round clouds in a dry blue sky that goes on infinitely in the Southwest. So many movies do too. And Los Angeles! So enchanting you start to worship it.  There is so much diversity in the skies, it’s overwhelming.

Just off the top of your head, what is the difference between eternal and infinite?

Infinite is calculated. It’s mathematical. Infinite has an expression of matter that is immeasurable. Eternal has more to do with the heart. It has something more to do with existing in the here and now. I’m sure it’s arguable…I’m going off my gut feelings here.

2017 was a difficult year for you. I want to say I’m in full support of everything you are and do. Now that we’ve made it here, is there anything you want to say?

Something I’ve started to feel and believe is that life is not about learning lessons. It’s like all of these things happen and ya, maybe learning is something we do in life, but it’s not about the lessons. I have this intense feeling inside that all the motion we keep making is forward…never stopping long enough to say…

It’s ok if it’s too much for you to talk about…

All I’m saying is that we need to love. Love endlessly, intensely, eternally. Love. Love. Love.