A common sight here in the Pacific Northwest. lichens-0733A bit early to be searching for signs of spring… lichens-0734It is easy to overlook this thought that life just is. As humans we are inclined to feel that life must have a point. We have plans and aspirations and desires. We want to take constant advantage of the intoxicating existence we’ve been endowed with. But what’s life to a lichen? Yet its impulse to exist, to be, is every bit as strong as ours-arguably even stronger. If I were told that I had to spend decades being a furry growth on a rock in the woods, I believe I would lose the will to go on. Lichens don’t. Like virtually all living things, they will suffer any hardship, endure any insult, for a moment’s additional existence. Life, in short just wants to be. 
― Bill BrysonA Short History of Nearly Everything


33 thoughts on “Lichen

    • Yeah, I think they call it Spanish moss down there. I don’t know if it’s the same stuff, or not. I don’t think anyone around here has ever thought to light it up. 🙂


      • I don’t know either but it looks the same. I am planning on posting some photos of it one of these days! Loved your work!


    • Than you, Sylvia! Bryson is definitely a favorite author, especially if you get him reading his own stuff on audio. He can make some of the most mundane things utterly fascinating.


  1. I like those words, Gunta…and fascinating images, too. We don’t get to see much variety in lichen here in the Wasatch, as you might know/remember, mostly smaller bits clinging to rocks.


    • Don’t know so much about variety, but the type pictured here is everywhere. It can even get to be a problem on rooftops. I’m really enjoying Bryson’s words. He makes some of the most mundane subjects fascinating, and he’s funny, too. He’s especially good if you listen to him read his own stuff on audio.


  2. As you’ve discovered, lichens can be very interesting and challenging subjects for winter macros. I like the varied and exotic configurations of twists and turns, the delicate, pendant form, etc. Judging by the buds and fruits in the 2nd image, the host appears to be Red Alder Here, my favorite specimens usually occur on Tamarack and other conifers in swampy places. You’ve inspired me to get out there and try my luck. Nice post!


    • Thanks, Nick. I’ve always been fascinated by the abundant lichens we get around here. You’re likely right about the alder (of course!) since it tends to grow wild around here. Can’t wait to see what you come up with!


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