Mycelium 2023 #6 Fruit

The red carpet was rolled out, the photo booth set up with the mandatory backdrop of promotional logos, drinks and nibbles ready to be poured and consumed and behind the scenes hundreds and hundreds of hours of voluntary contribution of time, talents and skills were deployed to deliver the opening of the Fleurieu Film Festival on an unseasonal cool February evening. The full moon rose and clouds moved around until she found her way over the vines of McLaren Vale. A fully formed wow, the appropriate response from people like me turning up to take in the harvest of others labours.

These moments remind me of the depth of the mycelium needed to pull off such an event. Greeted on the red carpet by a friend and colleague I worked with last century who retired and became a film maker, followed by a big hug from the man who would at the beginning of the program give an acknowledgement of country, he being from another part of the Fleurieu and a First Nations man from outside Kaurna and then a pouring of bubbles from grapes I have passed in their vineyards, long before they left the vine. I was with a dear friend who connected with sojourners I had reacquainted with recently through the local government election, and whose offspring lives a couple of doors down from my brother and sister-in-law’s house where I had spent the night before.

This litany of one off connections are the map of the mycelium made visible on the surface. I am finding being out and about in different settings in my role as Mayor, this is happening to me over and over. I am being constantly reminded of pathways and relationships I have had, revisiting or making new, are connected and however random it might appear, in reality there is nothing random. These connections have been fertilised by shared journeys, values, beliefs, and the courtesy of hospitality. Hospitality that act of being welcoming and friendly to all who come your way.

Earlier in the day a very well-known leader in local government thanked me for showing her all kinds of ways to lead and I had no idea! She told one of my new colleagues how much she had learnt from me. I was astonished as we hadn’t really worked closely on any common project, more like moving in each other’s circles from time to time. Her kindness was a beautiful act of acknowledgement of what she saw above the ground and her ability to know what was under the surface, between us. This is a kind of hospitality too, a way of noticing, a way of welcoming, a way of building and strengthening threads.

Mycelium finds and breaks down food sources, collects nutrients and water in order to create the mushroom – fruit of the mycelium. This process requires a lot of hosting too, transforming waste, gathering energy in optimal environmental conditions. All the connections and relationships made visible at the Fleurieu Film Festival were in the most perfect conditions for fruit to burst forth, and in my neon orange jacket, vintage print dress, on the stage to open the Festival I was happy to be one of the fruits and all the energy that had pushed up from generations of interconnected threads. To hear my name and applause when being welcomed on to the stage was a bonus.

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