25 November 2015

'Attentiveness can rival the most powerful magnifying lens'

You can look at mosses the same way you can listen deeply to water running over rocks…  
Having words for the forms [of the moss] makes the differences between them so much more obvious. With words at your disposal you can see more clearly… 
I find the language of microscopic description compelling in its clarity. The edge of a leaf is not simply uneven; there is a glossary of specific words for the appearance of a leaf margin: dentate for large, coarse teeth, serrate for a sawblade edge, serrulate if the teeth are fine and even, ciliate for a fringe along the edge. A leaf folded by accordion pleats is plicate, complanate when flattened as if squashed between two pages of a book.
Gathering Moss, Robin Wall Kimmerer, 2003

Image of Barbula fallax via here

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