Age and beauty define the lichen of this world

lichen on rock

Mindfulness helps you fall in love with the ordinary.
~Thich Nhat Hanh

Cracked volcanic rock, almost elephantine in its folds and crevices, lined a short walk on my way back to the Museum of Northern Arizona near Flagstaff.

What delighted me about this canyon was the overabundance of lichen, profligate in its blooming on this rough cliff wall. I wondered about the partnership between algae and fungus which produces lichen, and about its role in our modern world as a signal of pollution. Like the canary in the mine who only sings when the air is pure, lichen bloom only where high mountain air is unpolluted by industrial fumes.

And lichen are ancient. Some lichen colonies can be over 9000 years old. And older still is the rock to which they cling.

Nine thousand years from now, what will be ourĀ human legacy on this earth? Will our species still be as beautiful as these volcanic partners?

Let me hear what you think!

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