October 10, 2010

A Walk in the Woods: Another World

There are days on my woodland walks when I lean down and gaze closely at the small details of growth on earth and downed trees. A small tableau of mushroom, young tree, and moss loses its sense of scale, and can be imagined as a larger setting for an intimate drama.

The marvelous shapes--cup and waving wand--of lichens can be a strange forest landscape. It's not surprising that the artists devising the world of Pandora in the film Avatar took many images from these demure plants.

With these club mosses come another confusion of scale: they look so much like evergreen trees that seeing a photo like this makes us ask 'are they 6 inches high, or 6 feet?'. And the pale-colored spore carrying capsule looks a bit like the candles of new needles at the end of pine branches in spring. But they are small, as you can see from the wider shot among fallen leaves, below. Two days ago, I lay on the soft ground, warmed by dappled sun, smelling the spicy autumn aroma permeating the woods; down there, I felt like a visitor to another world.


  1. These are marvelous. It helps knowing how tiny these mosses and lichens are in reality to appreciate the images even more.

  2. I've been back half a dozen times to look at these; they are just so luscious!

  3. I love mosses and lichens, Linda; I discovered this magical world last fall and as the fall advances and the woodland underbrush dies down, the small plants become the stars of the woods. I'm so glad you've enjoyed looking at the images.

  4. Glad to see you are back in the saddle: this last image is especially magical.
    I visited Linda (and Mark) from Each Little World this weekend and we were singing your praise!

  5. Julie, I'm blushing....It would be lovely if we could all visit in person.