Robin Kimmerer, Excerpt from “Gathering Moss”

oh, i love how this piece turns out like butterscotch with a hint of cinnamon swirling in a laboratory flask… it’s a botanical prose!

Tracks and Sign


mossfence“Mosses must be awash in moisture in order for the alchemy of photosynthesis to occur.  A thin film of water over the moss leaf is the gateway for carbon dioxide to dissolve and enter the leaf, beginning the transformation of light and air into sugar.  Without water, a dry moss leaf is incapable of growth.  Lacking roots, mosses can’t replenish their supply of water from the soil, and survive only at the mercy of rainfall.  Mosses are therefore most abundant in consistently moist places, such as the spray zone of waterfalls and cliffs seeping with spring water.

But mosses also inhabit places that dry out, such as rocks exposed to the noonday sun, xeric sand dunes, and even deserts.  The branches of a tree can be a desert in the summer and a river in the spring.  Only plants that can tolerate this polarity can survive here… most mosses are…

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