New Year Revival
The woods are reviving. Life is returning to the parched life forms in the forest behind my house. Mosses and lichens, which until a few weeks ago were dry dusty crispy brown papery flakes, are swelling up- turning plump and green, coming to life. They’ve had a transfusion- some fluid therapy. In California we have learned not to take water for granted, and to appreciate it for what it is- a gift from the sky. Water is the true treasure of California, more valuable than that golden yellow stuff they dig out of the ground.
Every morning I escort the dogs outside for their early morning dog business- stretching, sniffing, leg-lifting etc. Today I noticed the barely perceptible sound of dripping and gurgling. The skies have been clear for about a week, but I can hear water moving: melt-water is running off the roofs and dripping from the trees because this is the first night that the temperature has stayed above freezing- not much above freezing, but enough to turn frozen crystals of ice and snow into flowing liquid. Water dripping and dribbling down the gutters and down through the branches to soak into the soil, which is full of organic potential. You can smell it- a raw, fragrant, earthy perfume. Not quite the same stuff that Lucy was wearing behind her ears the other day, but close. Organic. Alive.
I love moss. It’s like green velvet. Its delicate feathery fronds weave thick soft verdant blankets in 100 rich shades of green. I remember in biology classes learning about the life cycles of moss, lichen, algae, fungus and the strange creatures known as slime molds which were neither plant nor animal, but belonged to a kingdom of life all their own. Plain old everyday moss has a life cycle as fantastic as any fantasy science fiction alien you can imagine!
But they are nothing compared to the mysterious slime molds, and wondrous hybrid lichens which incorporate both fungus and algae. Although they seem like aliens to us, they are not. They are more Earthen than us hominids, arrogant, near-sighted mega-faunal creatures that we are!
All this summer I have walked arid pathways, thinking that land and forest seemed sterile and devoid of life, everything baked into ash and dust. Life beaten into oblivion had only retreated into microscopic spores, thick walled capsules and seeds, dormant, holed up, waiting for however long it took for ocean currents to shift, and rivers of air to fill and flow through the atmosphere, and the circulatory system of our planet to return. But now Life is finding the way. It’s rising from the dust and ash. Don’t wait until Easter to celebrate the victory of Life over Death- it’s going on all around us right now; go take a walk, see for yourself!
Happy New Year! Seize the Day.