Thursday, December 6, 2012

Lichen Lit

Contrast is the best way I can describe the Maine weather, lately.  Yesterday was warm enough to run around without a coat.  But today the wind was whipping requiring scarf and mittens.  This contrast got me to thinking about lichen.  Yes, my mind goes to strange places sometimes!  You may or may not be aware of the fact that lichen is a combination of fungus and algae.  Two contrasting forms of life together creating what seems to be one thing.  Rather it is a co-creation of an existence.   A beautiful one at that.  

The photos here are of a 20 year old stump in one of my flower gardens.  I left the stump there on purpose to see what nature would bring.  I was rewarded by the act of looking.  All the hues around here now are of browns, grays, and fading greens...except for this one stump.  A closer look revealed a Lilliputian garden of crimson.  Some contrasts are bold and hard to ignore while other require a closer look.

Well, when my mind wonders...poetry is the next thing on the agenda.  So I Googled "Lichen Poetry" and this lovely site had these and many more offerings.

ENJOY....I did!

Raj Arumugam "earthing trees and the creeping moss and lichen"
under the birches one may sit
under the trees
perhaps on a rock, a stump
in the quiet
in the solitude
in this light
The Japanese umbrella by one’s side
One in one’s best clothes
here may one sit
in one’s time
as if all of life has been a journey
to this single point, to this one place
One on one’s own, having come into the world so
and all relationships and realities coming to this
in the midst of this, one may sit
with the light, and colors and with the earth
and the sky and the water
as if finding one’s place in this life, on this radiant earth
amidst the breathing trees and the creeping moss and lichen
one may come to one’s poise and silence
a moment beyond thought and emotion
one coming into one’s own
a transcending of pain and disquiet
a coming into peace, into stillness and seeing it all
all things, all movement, seeing all as it is
poem based on painting "Under the birches" (1881) by Albert Gustaf Aristides Edelfelt

Devan Proctor "Within the air, defined with moss and lichen, and casualties of wet rotting wood-dep"
Within the air, defined with moss and lichen, and casualties of wet rotting wood-depletion on the dregs of the summit, is a flicker of reality. Here, no naked cedars or fair-weather friends are bent and leaning along the sturdy, unadorned spines of rifle green spruces. The stone-crushed trail takes above the haze of tree lines, founding a path by and beyond the fickle trustworthiness of rocks, and the wind carries all of fog and cloud away, and whispers like one thousand ghosts, and deceives the shrouded mountain’s inclines, unfolding above unto the soft clarity of dew and silence. The only reality is a place where the neck can ease its craned crooked coils to view the now-seemingly distant and muted pale orb of a star. And nothing here cannot breathed with. And nothing that can’t be understood is here amongst the scarred-ancient black cliffs and fissions of olden earth-crust and time. And nothing scales above the lonely, opening a prayer in the sky and the space.

 A "Lichen coats faces"
Lichen coats faces
weathering ancient beauty
Stone and earth are one
Nov. 5, 2010

Travis Dixon "lichen which"
Like this.
Like that.
Like this
likes that
that likes
these & those.
Liken this
to that
lichen which
so slow
over corpse & stone,
the likes of which
so few know
or like, let alone
love, like
we know
we should.


  1. Hi Deborah, these photos are absolutely amazing! They look so unreal! Almost like something from another planet

  2. Thanks! I love to look closely at things with the naked eye. It is amazing what we can see if we just look a little closer!

    Thanks for following my new adventure in blogging too!