There is nothing like the beauty of a mountain stream . . . with the lullaby of rushing water and the soft leaves and green covered rocks.
“One gram of moss from the forest floor, a piece about the size of a muffin, would harbour 150,000 protozoa, 132,000 tardigrades, 3,000 springtails, 800 rotifers, 500 nematodes, 400 mites, and 200 fly larvae. These numbers tell us something about the astounding quantity of life in a handful of moss.” – Robin Wall Kimmerer.
Okay, I get it. There’s lots of life in moss . . . Most of us don’t live on Mount Rainier with a mountain stream nearby; we have retaining walls covered with moss. Last summer I spent hundreds of dollars trying to get rid of several patches of moss. I did what I could last summer to stomp it out . . . sprinkle with Tide . . . and pressure wash away . . . to allow me to resurface our driveway. It took months of preparation. Moss doesn’t move, but it sure grows . . .
“Only farmers and summer guests walk on the moss. What they don’t know – and it cannot be repeated too often – is that moss is terribly frail. Step on it once and it rises the next time it rains. The second time, it doesn’t rise back up. And the third time you step on moss, it dies.”
– Tove Jansson, The Summer Book
On an early afternoon in December I drove up from Ruston Way; I turned on to North Huson, where we live and was almost blinded by the sunlight reflecting off the bright green moss lining the street, the driveways, the gutters, and the sidewalks.
BY BRUCE GUERNSEY
How must it be
to be moss,
that slipcover of rocks?—
greening in the dark,
longing for north,
of birds gone south.
How does moss do it,
in a dank place
and never a cough?—
a wet dust
where light fails,
where the chisel
cut the name.
On icy mornings, even a tour around the block can be slick and dangerous. Moss lines the edge of streets and the center crown of alleys. This is the worst I have seen moss, so it must have something to do with climate change. I can put up with it, but I just know come this summer I will be at war with moss again, so I can put a second protective coat on my driveway. In the mean time I wear my own protective coat and step carefully on morning walks.
The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own.