I love lichen.
In fact, I have a Pinterest board (here) dedicated specifically to lichen and mushrooms.
I often wonder w.h.y I love something …
or w.h.y someone else loves something.
What is it that draws me to this? What intrigues you about that?
What makes you turn away? What rattles the cage of my soul?
And most importantly, w.h.y?
When I’m out and about
hiking or camping … or just living my everyday life …
I often stop to take photos of lichen.
Because lichen is often found on rocks or bricks, I’ve always had in my head that it grows slowly. Maybe that’s the draw for me. I’m a slow processor, slow thinker, slow runner and slow reader. I do most things slowly. I find, if I move with too much speed, I end up making a mess …
or worse, I miss the enjoyment of doing what I’m doing
because I’m rushing to finish.
When I was young and move into “hurry-mode,” my dad would tell me “SLOW down.”
I still hear his voice when I let myself become rushed.
It seems like speed is good in emergency situations involving fire and blood,
but most other times, I choose to take the longer, more ambling rate of speed.
and new branches of a tree.
I do know there is credibility to the fact that lichen thrive in moisture.
Maybe that’s why I love them. My skin is so dry that I love humid weather.
Summers in the south are my favorite – yes, all the way up in the 90’s and near 100’s –
because the humidity keeps my skin happy and a little more supple.
My kids know me well. They know of my adoration of
rocks and trees, lichen and mushrooms.
But having someone know you isn’t quite the same as
having someone share with you that you were remembered.
Not so many months ago, Glory went over to St. Helena Island (SC) to visit a friend.
They stayed on ancient property on the edge of marsh and beach
where the wind blows salty, humid
and the trees offer songs of cicadas in the sweltering summer sun.
As she walked this property with tremendous, sturdy boughs
of behemoth muscular oaks draped in heavy Spanish moss,
she snapped a photo of the old wooden clothesline frame
that wears lichen like an antique cotton bathrobe, worn and comfortable.
By the time the image loaded fully on my phone, tears had welled up in my eyes. That beautiful, sturdy center brace on the clothesline stood strong after years of weather. The rich green in the lichen dappled in sunlight said the elderly arms on these braces had held tons of clean laundry to whip dry in the brackish air.
They spoke to me
of an earlier time
when people found value in face to face conversations
on the front porch on weekend evenings
and took timely care of one another
when sickness or frailty made daily responsibilities more difficult.
They spoke to me of being known throughout the county
because people built a life and constructed a home
and stayed in one place for decades.
As much as the lichen spoke as it held onto that bare elderly wood,
the images on my screen also spoke …
of being seen, known and understood.
They said, “You are remembered.”
They said, “I know you well enough
that I am reminded of you
in my coming and my going … in my living my life.”
And being known makes me happy.
I no longer need to be understood by all …
but like most, I want to be known – to be remembered – by at least a few.
I have a goal to begin to write letters again. I used to write them often.
But, the last few years have been so absorbed
with caring for and repairing my home
and then culling and packing twenty-five years worth of life
that letter writing has taken a back-burner.
By year’s end, I hope to move back to
card stock, patterned paper and words scribed on ivory
that speak of knowing, remembering and loving. Lichen
and being remembered
make me happy today.
What makes you happy this marvelous Monday morning?