The wooded area behind my house is constantly changing. Trees and plants grow and develop, drawing energy from the sun and the decaying matter around them. And then at the appointed time, they die away and their remains sustain the next generation of plant life.
There are organisms that quietly preform the essential role of decomposition. They are neither plant nor animal. They are the fungi. Not to be confused with bacteria, which are also vital in recycling nutrients, the fungi are a large group of organisms which include molds, yeasts and mushrooms.
Technically the mushroom itself is only the spore bearing, fruiting body of the fungus. But when we see a mushroom, none of this matters. For some reason the mushroom captivates us.
All the mushroom photos in this collage were taken in my one acre back yard.