I Like Lichens

March 5, 2012

Well, specially now that I’ve looked them up and reassured myself that they won’t harm to my espaliered apples. Instead they just look, to my eyes anyway, beautiful in three colours.

Lichens are a monitor of air pollution and useful for dyeing things (this I shall not try …my dyeing days, as my jam-making days, are sadly over). Also they are a valuable food resource in Siberia where they are extracted, partiallydigested, from the stomach of freshly killed reindeer and caribou and eaten with relish (of mood rather than from a jar). Hm, I think my lichen-eating days are over, too.

I am also  fond of mosses. I  particularly like the little puff of moss on the lips of the Bacchante in the Flower Garden.

In a whimsical mood I imagine some tender-hearted young man in a slightly drunken state pressing his lips to this little puff and finding himself embroiled in a whirl of magical realism along the lines of F. Anstey’s ‘The Tinted Venus’ …a short story, which amuses me no end. I do recommend it

2 Responses to “I Like Lichens”

  1. Annegret said

    After a thoroughly adrenaline-soaked week and the perusal of current affairs in all their cruelty, it is good to look on lichens and moss, far far away. I hope your bacchante is stationary and has very large hands – for the sake of her lovely drapery of multi-coloured moss and your family and other animals, especially foxes and affectionate Puritan hens.

  2. Annegret said

    Thanks for your blog! I found a lovely Romantic lichen poem …

    As in the woods, where leathery Lichen weaves
    Its wint’ry web among the sallow leaves,
    Which (thro’ cold months in whirling eddies blown)
    Decay beneath the branches once their own,
    From the brown shelter of their foliage fear,
    Spring the young blooms that lead the floral year:
    When, waked by vernal suns, the Pilewort dares
    Expand her spotted leaves, and shining starts
    And (veins empurpling all her tassels pale)
    Bends the soft Wind-flower in the tepid gale;
    Uncultured bells of azure Jacynth’s blow,

    And the breeze-scenting Violet lurks below:
    So views the wanderer, with delighted eyes,
    Reviving hopes from black despondence rise,
    When, blighted by Adversity’s chill breath,
    Those hopes had felt a temporary death;
    Then with gay heart he looks to future hours,
    When Love shall dress for him the Summer bowers!
    And, as delicious dreams enchant his mind,
    Forgets his sorrow past, or gives them to the wind.

    Charlotte Turner Smith
    from : Elegiac Sonnets
    – supposed to have been written in the New Forest, in early Spring –

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