It was first seen through binoculars, through clouded window glass and past the dancing distraction of feathered feasters on the lawn below. It resembled a forgotten rose, brown petaled, a perfect circle of design rolled out like stale pie crust on the top curve of an alligator-backed resting log, dull but intriguing.
Later in the day I was close enough to inspect both pattern and color and shape more closely, and was surprised to see the familiar image of a female pine cone with its distinct scales smashed firmly against the rough bark wood as if raped by some autumn monster and left for lost.
But wait, neither pie nor flower nor cone is this object. It is soft and pliable, if still firmly attached, and is indeed a fungus playing hiding games in the fall light. It is a cabbage fungus in its normal costume, pretending it is something else.