Why we need each other


A lichen is a composite organism that arises from algae or cyanobacteria (or both) living among filaments of a fungus in a symbiotic relationship. The combined life form has properties that are very different from the properties of its component organisms. Lichens come in many colors, sizes, and forms. The properties are sometimes plant-like, but lichens are not plants. Lichens may have tiny, leafless branches (fruticose), flat leaf-like structures (foliose), flakes that lie on the surface like peeling paint (crustose), or other growth forms.

“There is a low mist in the woods, It is a good day to study lichens.” – Henry David Thoreau

I have a beautiful old oak tree in my backyard covered in lichen from top to bottom. Lichen is a beautiful organism that is the result of a partnership between a fungus and an alga or cyanobacteria and for my enjoyment, a tree. Why it happens I have no clue. That it happens makes me very happy.

You see, I love the beauty, the simplicity and the collaboration of lichen. It gracefully paints the trunks of trees and rocks over boundless landscapes in various shapes, sizes, colors, textures and designs. If you have taken any time exploring the quiet and slow movements that lichen aspires to produce you to would marvel at this wonderful cooperative life form.

Human beings could learn many lessons about living from lichen. Colors exist together in harmony, different shapes and kinds live in peace with each other. They treat their host and home gently, respectfully and with reverence. Lichen understands the concept of balance, of symmetry.

We humans fancy ourselves complicated and complex creatures. We seem to have all answers, all the solutions while we continue to resolve conflicts with anger, hate and death. We disrespect our host, our planet. We treat it as if there is no end to the resources we suck out of its marrow. Yes, we could learn a lot from this wonderful organism if we simply accepted and respected the lessons of lichen.

“One could speculate that lichens would be among the last inhabitants to succumb on a dying earth at some distant point in the future.” – Steven L. Stephenson, The Kingdom Fungi: The Biology of Mushrooms, Molds, and Lichens

About ends and beginnings blog

I am a frustrated writer and poet waiting to be discovered. A stand-up philosopher performing on a street corner near you. A Christian with questions but I don’t want to hear your answers. A Buddhist with a bumper sticker on my truck to prove it. A collector of quotes. A grower of lettuce. The Patron Saint of earthworms who name their children after me. A cyclist whose big ass strains the seams of his Lycra bibs. I am American by birth, Southern by the grace of God. My goal in life is to leave an imprint on the lives of the people I love not a footprint on the earth. I am a son, a husband, a father composed of 65%-Oxygen, 18%-Carbon, 10%-Hydrogen, 3%-Nitrogen, 3%-Diet Coke and 1%-Oreo.
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10 Responses to Why we need each other

  1. samanthamurdochblog says:

    Great post, love the detail and the moral too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. jlfatgcs says:

    My mother-in-law always talked about stopping to smell the roses. This post is exactly what she meant. Today on the playground a child brought me lichen from a tree. We studied the coffee filter shape and the graduated stripes. What a terrific conversation evolved. We stopped to smell the roses.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. manqindi says:

    we are surrounded by natural wonders; thank you for reminding us to be always aware of that.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m really lichen this post. (Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk, nyuk….)
    Seriously, though, beautiful. Nature teaches us lots of valuable life lessons, if only we would pay attention.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh – beautiful post! Loved it. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

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