Putting Lichens in Focus

2012 CAMP SERIES: SECTION 3

While hiking in the woods, I tend to focus on encountering things that are rare and hard to find. Yet sometimes the more common discoveries turn out to provide the most interest, if I really take the time to look at them.

For this reason, I have reserved this space to highlight that which drapes itself over branches throughout the forest, encrusts rocks, and clings to both trees and stumps, grows in the tops of the highest trees, as well as from the soil itself. I am referring of course, to the lichens.

Although many lichens are drought tolerant, they also do well in wet climates like where I live. So it is easy for me to walk by without giving them much notice. But if I step closer, and examine them letting everything else blur into the background, I find extraordinary artistry and grace. And I believe you will too.

And for this appreciation, we don’t even need to look beyond the aesthetics of lichens, or know that they are separate entities, drawn together to function as a single organism (although I would encourage you, at another time, to delve deeper into the amazing mysteries of the lichens).

So as I walked along a path in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest this summer, the lichens took center stage, and for a brief period of time, the small world which they inhabit, became my world as well.

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7 Responses to Putting Lichens in Focus

  1. i wndoer what that first one is? it looks almost like a liverwort. I love the color in that beard lichen!

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    • From what i’ve read, liverworts will have a “vein” down the center of each “leaf” and lichens will not. I can’t tell if the ones in your shot do or not, but it’s nice whatever it is. I’ve never seen one like it. I Love the blue ones!

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  2. montucky says:

    These are terrific photos! We share most of the same lichens, but I haven’t seen the blue one. They are fascinating life forms!

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  3. A great collection! I particularly like IMG_8952 and 8835. While there is nothing more earthly than lichen, these two have something wonderfully otherworldly about them, to my eye.

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