Thursday, December 08, 2016

Grows on rock

Even in the most inhospitable of locations, life will find a way. Enthusiastically, even.

On a tall rock face, scoured by wind, rain, ice and snow; alternately baked and frozen, dripping wet and bone-dry; bereft of soil, hard and knife-edged; lichens, mosses, ferns, and even trees find a foothold and happily settle in.

Cliff face over my head, beside Upper Campbell Lake. Bottle-brush moss lines the cracks, small lumps of dark brown moss speckle the bare face of the rock. There's even a bit of grass taking advantage of a dip.

Across the lake: yellow and green mosses basking in watery afternoon sunshine.

The moss is a primary colonizer; it traps bits of dust from the air and crumbling rock, and adds its own organic detritus. Other hardy plants and animals find shelter and nutrients under the moss, and a community is born.

Licorice ferns, three kinds of lichens, pine needles from the trees above, and mosses. The white stuff behind the ferns is snow.

A haircap moss, growing on the rock face.

At the foot of the cliff, on a cement wall (no more hospitable than the cliff). Moss and its spore cases.

And under and through all this green life, beetles, ants, springtails, and assorted flies go about their business. There's good eating up there on the mossy crags!

Still here. Where the arrow points to lichen.

1 comment:

  1. wonderful! I'm always amazed at how persistent life is....even in urban landscapes the weeds come up through the tiniest of cracks.


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