Big fast-moving things grab our attention: eagles, wolves, and cougars. But we miss much by overlooking tiny, stationary creatures around us.
The creatures I write about are everywhere—all habitats on all seven continents. And they have been with us since life first emerged from the oceans onto land.
They can lie dormant for over 40 years waiting for one drop of water and they are capable of that most miraculous of life processes: photosynthesis.
They contain no vascular tissue, no roots or leaves or stems, but mosses merit careful attention. On a cool Sunday morning deep in the Whidbey Institute woods twenty of us followed bryologist, Miles Berkey, around for two hours peering at these tiny treasures.
From Berkey’s website: http://www.knowingmoss.com we get a definition of mosses: “The small little green fuzzy stuff that grows on logs, rocks, in our lawns and on our roofs. This term can accidentally incorporate such things as lichens, algae, and other small vascular plants. . . The taxonomic name for moss is bryophyte, which when used, carries a greater accuracy, pertaining to all non-vascular land plants.”
The trip was sponsored by our local Whidbey Camano Land Trust, http://www.wclt.org, a remarkable organization that helps those of us living on the island preserve unique habitats through donations and work parties. And on days like this, they offer us an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of where we live.
Without further words, I share my enthusiasm through photos. One photo in particular is noteworthy—the final one. It was taken by my friend Whidbey Institute fellow, Larry Daloz, a fine bryologist in his own right.