Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Lichen Woodland

Lichen Woodland

And there it is, maybe slowly creeping this way, even.
(Map stolen from Wikipedia.)


1) Sparse taiga.

Trees are well-spaced and lichen covers the ground.

In far northern taiga, the forest cover is more sparse and also stunted.

Ice-pruned trees are common.

Thoughts you might have there: "I'm likin' this lichen woodland 'cuz it's sparse an' ice-pruned. Too bad the flies got Ed though."

2) A woodland, definitely, but what about this other thing? How do we fit it in? This lichen thing. What is a lichen anyway?

The ancient Greeks called it what eats around itself. Yeep! I know, it's supposed to be a "symbiotic organism", one that is composed of two or more different and unlike organisms, one living inside the other, with both benefiting from the arrangement. They say. They say this is how it is, but is it?

The pod people claim it is so, at those times when they speak. When they speak. Without enthusiasm. Without any noticeable emotion at all, at those times when they speak, but still looking through you the way they do.

"It is good" is what you hear, if you hear anything. Aside from that odd tinny buzz. Even though silent and emotionless, you see them wandering everywhere. Wandering by day, wandering by night, with wires dangling from their ears. Is the pod in control or the person? Is it even a person any more?

And those wires, what are they doing in there? Seeing pod people makes you wonder about these things and about many more things. Likely you won't even think about lichens, but they are just as strange, comprised as they are of an outer, shell-like fungus wrapped around and sheltering some inner algae.

Lichens aren't even vascular plants. If they are plants. Are they? No, not really, one supposes.

Vascular plants stand up and have roots and leaves and internal plumbing that moves water and nutrients around, but lichens, no. They lie there, flat, crusty, almost inert, waiting among the trees, or on rocks, with that little dead zone around them.

Waiting for something, it seems, whatever it might be. And then there you are. Oh, yes. You come hiking along, in this pleasant, open woodland with colorful, licheny patches on the trees, listening to your music player, with those wires coming out of your ears. And the lichens, then they perk up. Yes? Yes. They perk up then.

They may even follow you for a bit, but discreetly, of course. Silently. Through the woodland. You don't even notice. And who knows what may come next?



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Me? Seem to be leafing out again.