On moss

“Moss is inconceivably strong. Moss eats stone; scarcely anything, in return, eats moss. Moss dines upon boulders, slowly but devastatingly, in a meal that lasts for centuries. Given enough time, a colony of moss can turn a cliff into gravel, and turn that gravel into topsoil. Under shelves of exposed limestone, moss colonies create dripping, living sponges that hold on tight and drink calciferous water straight from the stone. Over time, this mix of moss and mineral will itself turn into travertine marble. Within that hard, creamy-white marble surface, one will forever see veins of blue, green, and gray–the traces of the antediluvian moss settlements.”

–Elizabeth Gilbert, who posits in a corollary passage the idea of “moss time,” which is slower than human time but much faster than geologic time

(And, in this week of my learning the term “bryology”–the study of mosses and liverworts–I spot it again here.)

 

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