Portraits of Moss and Lichen

Getting out into nature even for a short trip during the coldest time of year can be rewarding. Life's troubles ever-present fade into a background of winter landscape. Only the hardiest and most resilient thrive during these cold winter months among them the moss and lichen.

Strikingly, these are among the only shades of green of the forest. The trees are bare revealing the landscape's curving lines. The moss and lichen stand out. These delicate strands form a protective blanket over wood and soil. Their pioneering spirit is one that drives change.

Then a young couple appears on the trail. I ask how they are and they ask what I am doing. I say I am taking photographs and is it alright if I take a photograph of them in the forest. They agree.

What brings kids out to a nature reserve? What draws them into the heart of the forest? Is it boredom? Is it curiosity? The landscape receives them with open arms. Abundance abounding beneath every step of their gait. A mushroom appears. One that has seen seasons pass. It curves tell a story.

Thoughts race and worry occupies the mind, and as a backdrop is nature, however subtle, that fills the field of vision with its' endless patterns and dynamic processes. The calm matter of fact that fills the forgotten spaces. The lush aftermath of failed plans. The perpetual spirit that resides in every co-inhabitant in an endless exchange of energy. Nature inspires and nature provides as is witnessed in the songs of the animals, the praise of vegetation and fungi and the humility of the mineral.

The cold of winter has dulled the colors of most but the moss shows its colors most truly during this time of year. Lushest even in the grips of cold wind and ice. The roots of a Bald Cypress tree reveal the location of a flooded stretch of forest. Moss holds on to these roots. It grows best closest to the water.

Life goes on as the water flows. The only constant is change. A winter walk offers tranquility. Resilience is a moss.

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