Every time I read Sy Montgomery’s words, whether in her books or on her social media accounts, I fall in love with some new piece of nature. This time it is: lichen.
Recently, I read that she referred to an expert and professor as a “lichen enthusiast.” The title tickles me. Immediately I, too, want to be known as a lichen enthusiast, a champion of the unnoticed, a proponent of small and useful.
Maybe you already knew that this is lichen:
I have passed it and admired its shades of green, blue, and yellow many times. But I did not know I was admiring lichen. According to Montgomery, it is often mistaken for tree moss, but it is actually not a moss at all. It is made up of both fungus and algae and has a very benign relationship with the trees it graces.
This makes me wonder what else I might be seeing every day without really seeing. Of what else might I become an enthusiast?
One day, after a rain, I became a fallen leaf enthusiast.
Another day, when the sun was an enormous orange ball at the end of the block, I quickly became a sunset enthusiast.
Most days, I am a bee enthusiast, though I prefer not to study them in large groups.
Often, I am an unidentified berry enthusiast.
Today, I was a shadows on fences enthusaist.
Montgomery reminds me not only to notice and be curious, but to allow myself to be easily enthused by the simple joys of our natural world.