Alive and Well in the Desert

Alive in the desert

I have a fascination with lichen, perhaps because it is so tenacious and tough. It thrives where there are few nutrients, and in the desert, where there is little moisture as well.

For example, notice this desert lichen, a little crackly about the edges, but still hanging in there.

It is hard to predict where life will take root, and how it will thrive under the most unexpected circumstances.

It’s like that for us, too. There is a vast difference between what we want versus what we need in order to build a life for ourselves. It is often not what we choose, but what we are given that allows us to grow into what we were meant to be.

~For every problem there is a solution
which is simple, clean,
and wrong.

~Henry Louis Mencken~

 

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 our human legacy on this earth? Will our species still be as beautiful as these volcanic partners?