Since early this year, moss has captivated me.
In February, I went to Kanuga with the diocesan youth, and the cold ground boasted plenty of soggy, fallen branches covered in moss and lichen.
A few weeks ago, back in the mountains of Western North Carolina, I found more, and couldn’t stop taking photos.
I wondered why these funny little organisms had such an effect on me; it made me think about their make up.
Moss grows in the shade–when I was little, my dad taught me that if you couldn’t quite tell which way was which (cardinally-speaking), you could tell north by what side of a tree had moss growing on it. Lots of plants and growing things prefer sun, the more the better! But moss, with its soft, fragile, hardy growth needs some shade to thrive. If we acknowledge and honor even the shady moments of our lives, we can grow and thrive in and through them.
Speaking of hardy, there’s no better word to describe lichen. It grows in the most inhospitable places–on rocks, in deserts, even in the arctic! Lichen also grows in rainforests, on soil, and in more temperate areas; no matter where it finds itself, lichen hangs on and determinedly grows. This fierce fungus not only survives, but boasts a frilly natural beauty. What an example of how to live our own lives.
All around us are resolute, haunting, quiet witnesses to the brutality of this world and to the strength of living things. Whether you believe in a God or not, it’s clear we’re not really alone (thank goodness!!).