Posts Tagged ‘lichen’

Donner

Monday, January 30th, 2012

Cool bridge up at Donner Summit in the Sierra Nevada where i went wandering yesterday. That’s Donner lake in the background. It’s like an adult playground up there. A high mountain playgound. Everyone goes up there to ski, hike, climb, paddle and party. Its kind of ridiculous.

Gorgeous granite bulb-giants sticking up into the skies like strange alien rocket ships emerging and then freezing in the mountain air.  Here’s a close up of the granite. Beautiful dark-black flakes mixed with white and a hint of peach.

Incredible black, white and neon green lichen covering the rock surface. Lichen is an incredible organism that lives on surfaces such as stone or bark, absorbing the moisture and nutrients from the soil,dust and debris it finds there.  Scientists have found that some lichen can be thousands of years old. They are super hardy, which is why they can live so long.

Fat sheets of rippled ice slowly marching down the face of the rock. Despite all the frozen water, it was quite a warm day.

Looking closely at the intricacies of Nature’s creations, one sees a brilliant mastermind, artist-architect at work.  The Beauty-Intelligence of the universe. One that makes the geese to migrate across vast oceans, the buds to open up to the sunshine in the spring, our blood to pump continuously through our bodies.  We have yet to fully understand and grasp it all. Even the sharpest scientists of our human species. A mystery. A mystery that whirls and rotates and rises and falls in perfect time, all around us.

Beckworth

Sunday, September 25th, 2011

Beckworth is a rocky peak that sticks up into the sky outside my apartment window here in Portola, California. My roommate and i have been wanting to climb it so today we finally ventured out. The very top one hundred feet is a rocky crag that somewhat resembles a curved dome. I walked right up to it and found the most amazing lichen covering the stone.

I felt like i was in some kind of underwater tropical reef, it was so colorful. With the Sierra Valley spread out below and the sweet smell of some kind of scented bush below me, it was quite spectacular.

I scaled the wall to the top and found Woodrat scat -latrines and a nest fifty feet up the cliff! It was amazing to see a non-winged creature living in such a dangerous environment. I thought that the potential benefits might be that they could avoid predators.

One interesting thing about climbing is how mindful and present it forces you to be. It is a rare situation in which moving your foot two inches to the left results in death. When’s the last time you were sitting at a table having lunch and you were afraid to move your hand cause you didn’t want to die?Never. Minus the “afraid of falling to my certain death” part, if i could feel the way i felt seventy feet up that cliff every moment of my life, i would be all set. Complete and utter focus on the task at hand. Complete and one hundred percent conscious movement of every foot and forearm.

The cool thing about Nature is it can serve as a blueprint for the human mind as to how to be, meaning how to be alive in this world. You go out in the wilderness and you look around. The trees are not worrying about their bills they have to pay. The stones are not worrying about finding their soul-mate. The birds are not angry that their colors aren’t bright enough. You look around and you see that the essence of these creatures is stillness and peace. And you get to match up your own mind and soul with that essence. In this way connection with Nature serves as a spiritual practice.

The Ponderosa Pine is such a magnificent tree. Long green needles stick out in every direction forming wispy green orbs at the end of each branch. The bark has the most amazing Vanilla-sugar smell when it’s warmed by the sun, that brings me back to a flour-covered counter-top in the kitchen of my childhood.