As I was sitting out on the back patio, enjoying my book and the cool, fresh evening air, K wondered aloud what those orange blobs on the cedar tree were. Being the expert botanist that I am, I said, "I thought they were, like, the cones or something." Being an actual botany expert, K replied that, no, cedar cones are a normal brown color. So we went in for a closer look. Upon inspection, the blobs turned out to be dark brown pods with orange tendrils growing from them. Again, with my expansive tree knowledge, I suggested that they were seed pods. K suppressed a sigh and said, no, look how they surround the limbs, it's like some sort of tumor.
She said the word "tumor" just as my fingers touched the orange outgrowth. I don't know if it was the word or the surpassingly creepy, wet-rubbery feel of the alleged plant life, but a bone-deep chill ran throughout my body and, even now, I can't think about it without feeling bile rise in the back of my throat. I tried to go back and read, but I could see those (shudder) tumors dangling overhead - okay, overhead and 20 yards away - and I couldn't concentrate on my book.
Thankfully, the trauma was brief. I'd completely forgotten about the diseased cedar when K popped up online this morning to inform me that she'd discovered that the growth on the tree was actually a fungus called "Cedar-Apple Rust." Great. Fungus. Even grosser. Although this name does not do it justice. It should be called something like "Necrotic Sponge-Filth of Evil."
I'm not sure I can ever spend time in the backyard without imagining those squishy little fungus-fingers reaching toward me. It just may be the most disgusting thing found in nature. I suspect it may actually be why the last owners moved.
Just look. I dare you.