Lichens of Slide Mountain

“I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass,” wrote Walt Whitman (1818-1892) in his poem, The Song of Myself, an eerie echo of a theme in 13th century Japanese Zen literature:

There is a world of sentient beings in clouds. There is a world of sentient beings in the air. There is a world of sentient beings in fire…. There is a world of sentient beings in a blade of grass.

— Mountains and Wates Sutra, Eihei Dogen (1200-1253)

Could there be a world of sentient beings in a piece of lichen?

Last weekend my friend Steve Aaron and I had the privilege of accompanying nature photographer John Franklin on an expedition to Slide Mountain.  John is working on a book about New York lichens, and he kindly shared many observations with us as well as some spectacular photographs which are showcased below together with some apropos quotations from Henry David Thoreau.

Lichen 12 (1 of 1)
Nature Photographer John Franklin in action.  Credit:  Steve Aaron Photography

Thank you, John!

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Lichens of Slide Mountain

Three More Peaks and Signs of Spring

Following an unsuccessful attempt on the Catskills 9, I returned two weeks later to bag the three peaks I had missed, namely Slide, Cornell, and Wittenberg.  It was six miles barefoot over steep and rocky trails, and then six miles return in Luna sandals, but a relatively uneventful journey without physical or mental drama.  It was also a chance to appreciate the mountains, make new discoveries, and enjoy the signs of spring.

Spring beauty
Spring Beauty (Claytonia caroliniana)

Continue reading “Three More Peaks and Signs of Spring”

Three More Peaks and Signs of Spring