Lichen Comes to Life

Wrinkled lettuce

you drift downward

in high winds.

Tumbling,

sinking into snow.

The deer might eat you,

but if I am in the forest

 I take you home.

In a bowl of

warm water

you spring to life!

Fluted edges

sage and crimson

burnt sienna.

I marvel.

Placing you amongst

the branches of

my Norfolk pine I

 offer temporary respite

from winter

 white and cold.

Crisped Creation!

Four billion years

of knowledge hidden

by those folds.

In the stillness

that settles after

any storm I know I’ll

meet you again –

gaze upon another

 miracle –

 both

animal and plant –

 Fungi and

Algae living in

 harmony

with differences,

each providing 

what is needed

for the other.

Air to breathe.

Support.

This is more

 than friendship.

Symbiosis.

Most don’t even

know you exist.

But you protect

 Spruce and Pine –

 provide immunity

from the highest branches

of these trees that

are your home.

In these endless days of winter, I begin to long for something beyond monotonous gray or cerulean blue sky against bare branches, a brook so frozen over I hardly know its there, pines with drooping needles. Winter storms and raging winds exhaust us all. Even the birds are absent.

 Where are the glorious winter sunrises? I hunger for color… and then, after this last storm the ice is gone and I snowshoe through the woods for the first time this month. This is when I spy the lichen on the snow. Ah, a treasure to be taken home. Later after a bath my brittle gray friends turn soft and yielding. I let them soak in the warmth until like frozen children their colors return! How grateful to be in the presence of these Beings coming back to life…Soon, I hope, I will return them home.

Lichens have many antibiotic and antibacterial substances that support human immune systems. It is inconceivable to me that they wouldn’t do the same for the trees.

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