Another look at moss

Why moss? Why select a plant that doesn’t even have the decency to produce seeds or have roots that grip and extract nourishment? I have no good answer. Moss is but moss yet it seems sufficient and timely. Maybe even intended.

I grew up in an arid land, a place of borrowed water where green mattered. Here, in the Pacific Northwest, I live in a flurry of green, from the grey-green of conifers to the chartreuseness of the very moss that started all this. But that green, once so precious, has become an assumption, like a loved one you count on to always be there until one day they are not.

God has given us green, a concept that, like all colors, remains irreducible. You can’t unpack green or break it down into smaller components in the way you do a problem at work or a project at home. So what do you do with green?

You give thanks.

Or so I am trying. What started as an attempt to practice at home the same openness and attention to detail I experience on a trip has become something more. I could call it a meditation on green, but that’s too pretentious, like referring to a can of sardines as an elegant seafood dinner.

Instead, this particular focus on moss feels more akin to a spiritual discipline, an object lesson wrapped in the concentrated effort to be more grateful, to do what does not come naturally to me.

I need something in my life to remind me that my life is not mine. I need something that triggers me to remember that beauty invades me – or would if I let it – every day. I need a not-so-subtle cue to hold up to my eyes the grace that holds me.

Moss rarely grows more than an inch in height.

It will do.

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And just in case you haven’t had your fill of mossy images, check out my Pinterest board on the subject:

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