"L" is for Lichen
Originally Published in the June 2012 Issue of Empirical
It is delicate, so it makes a symbiotic relationship.
It occurs in some of the most extreme environments on Earth—
arctic tundra, blistering deserts, stony coasts, and toxic slag heaps.
They are abundant as epiphytes on leaves and branches
in temperate woodlands, on bare rock, walls and gravestones,
as permanent graffiti. They have no consciousness we know of.
They are widespread and long-lived as an inconvenient lie
They are also vulnerable to environmental disturbance,
and may be constructive to scientists assessing effects of air pollution,
ozone depletion, and metal contamination. Something so small
is necessary to co-existence, more so than love; for what is love?
How is this not love? When we feel infinitesimal, it can welcome us.
When it is lacking, it is the same as being oxygen deprived.
We are connected and we do not want to lose that connection.
When we are in love, we can be in love anywhere, in any condition.
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