where kiwi forest fairies live, an emergent metaphor

a couple last pics from new zealand. these, from our walk through the woods at the top of the mountain above queenstown. we saw these little mushrooms that had pushed up through the layer of dirt and pine needles. they were about as enchanting as mushrooms can be. we pictured tiny forest fairies living in or under them. these pics aren’t great, but the fragile little mushrooms seemed a great metaphor for many things.

and, they made me think of emergent village.

yeah, maybe a stretch. but as i type this, i’m in philadelphia for a board meeting of emergent, as well as the emergent philosophical discussion with jack caputo (i’m sure i’ll post more about that). but as i looked at these fragile-yet-willful little mushrooms earlier this week, i couldn’t help but think of emergent. even that description — fragile-yet-willful — seems to characterize the state of emergent. so much happening now. and i’ve been so deeply pleased to see emergent hold to its commitments and statements that it would be and will be a dialogue and a relationship, not a denomination or unified voice or political lobby. that commitment has cost them (us). that commitment has kept them fragile. there would likely be more strength in the traditional way of defining that (strength = ability to influence) if emergent compromised from this commitment. but the good stuff wouldn’t be happening: we’d be in a cul-de-sac.

i’ll say this about these little mushrooms: in their tiny-ness (especially in contrast to the rest of the forest) and humility, they were the most alive thing in the forest. they found their life and nutrients in the decay of dying pine needles and forest-floor compost. and they pushed up through it. ugly and beautiful at the same time. completely vulnerable. impractical. other.

yup. that’s emergent.



(related post, which i thought of in this forest also, from our family trip exactly one year ago to glacier national park, and the emergent growth we saw on a hike in the woods.)

4 thoughts on “where kiwi forest fairies live, an emergent metaphor”

  1. i wanna see the bungee jump and your pony tails!

    thanks again for the convo at the loafin’ leprechaun – and also the “refreshments.” very kind and very fun! see you next weekend!

    oh- and an email with some blog links is coming your way.


  2. And just so’s you know those are, I’m pretty sure, just about the deadliest mushrooms in the forest. We call them toadstools round here to accentuate the difference.

  3. these are magical. As much as I love the emergent comparison, I LOVE these mushrooms! I can just imagine spending hours creating a world (and events in it) around/from/in them as I did when I was a child with the \”boring mushrooms\” at the park across the street. Thanks for sharing pictures of these glorious and truly fascinating creations! Wonder!

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