January Submissions: Moss & Lichen

How did we get to the January already?!?! I feel as though the days evaporated into the time-space continuum and here we are now on February 1st. Thank you to everyone who was able to make the time to offer us their pictures of moss and/or lichen!

Lichen Village on a Fence By Mary King Woodinville WA USA Jan 2023

I love Mary’s creativity in referring to this as a “Lichen Village”, it really inspires the imagination and remind us that all things are part of a community.

Lichen on a moss-covered rock By Lisa Troute South Florida USA Jan2023

Yellow and White Lichen By Dinah Vancouver BC Canada https://moreidlethoughts.wordpress.com/

Shrieking Pit Lichen By IDV Norfolk England UK Jan 2023 https://inexplicabledevice.blogspot.com/

More from the Shrieking Lichen Pit By IDV Norfolk England UK Jan 2023 https://inexplicabledevice.blogspot.com/

lichen, any of about 15,000 species of plantlike organisms that consist of a symbiotic association of algae (usually green) or cyanobacteria and fungi (mostly ascomycetes and basidiomycetes). Lichens are found worldwide and occur in a variety of environmental conditions. 

Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “lichen”. Encyclopedia Britannica, 21 Dec. 2022, https://www.britannica.com/science/lichen. Accessed 1 February 2023.

Lichen Rock By Kerfe Asheville NC US Jan 2023 https://methodtwomadness.wordpress.com/ & https://kblog.blog/

Mostly Moss…

Moss and Butterflies By Kerfe Asheville NC US Jan 2023 (Flipped) https://methodtwomadness.wordpress.com/ & https://kblog.blog/

Ball of Moss By Lisa Troute South Florida USA Jan 20223 (Maybe Spanish Moss baby?)

Moss on Pine By Cathy Litchfield North Carolina USA Jan 2023 grounded-wisdom.com

Mossy Hedgebank By Ms Scarlet Devon England UK https://wonky-words.com/blog/


A Glimpse of the Shrieking Pit By IDV Norfolk England UK Jan 2023 https://inexplicabledevice.blogspot.com/


I’ve been to Japan many times but one of my favorite memories is when I was honored to stay at my friend Keiko’s house and her dad showed me his lovely tsubo-niwa (a small courtyard garden). When he showed me the tweezers he uses to pluck out rogue grass I had a funny thought; in Japan they favor the moss and not the grass and in the United States they favor the grass and not the moss. Personally, I’m with the Japanese on this. I prefer moss and clover over to big plots of lawn grass.

Here’s one of my favorite videos about the art of tsubo-niwa by NHK World Video:

Tsubo-niwa: Life Enhanced by Quintessential Spaces Language: English, Japanese, Chinese, Espanol Runtime: 28mins

https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/en/ondemand/video/2029065/?


In closing, I’d like to thank Lisa Troute for providing us with this interesting article about moss itself.

The Many Meanings of Moss: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2022/nov/03/the-many-meanings-of-moss?cmpid=email-hist-inside-history-2022-0102-01022023&om_rid=58020d8ae1f1e8bc8e1d99bbd88cbfce9d1d1a142b3954bba64b94e6bf720408&~campaign=hist-inside-history-2022-0102

Thank you to everyone that participated in this month’s photo submission request! It’s not a competition, you all have my love and gratitude!

Next up:

Ferns and/or Unexpected Blooms

Due: February 28th

To be posted on: March 1st

The Fine Print:  Photo Submissions Guidelines

Email to: natureledlife@gmail.com Subject line: Photo Submission for [month] (Multiple months of photos in one email is fine.) Image: Attached as a .JPEG or .PNG file preferred. Captions each picture: Subject in the photo (if known), State/Providence & Country, Date (optional). Your name as you want it to appear, Your blog link (if you have one.) 

Feel free to add any interesting notes about a picture. I love interesting stories behind things! Let me know if it’s just for ‘my eyes only’ or if I can share any part of it with your photo. Pictures must be your own or you have permission from the Photographer to share it. All copyrights belong to their respective owners. This is a free, fun, community site about nature. Non-commercial and ad free.

Last Call for January: Moss & Lichen Pictures

Raindrops on Moss By Melanie Reynolds Washington State, USA.

Do I need more pictures of moss and lichen? Well, maybe not, but then again does a book lover ever really have enough books? I can’t imagine having too many books or pictures of nature! So, if you were planning on submitting moss and/or lichen pictures for this January’s photo submission request here is your last chance!

January: Moss and Lichen

Due: Tomorrow, January 31st

Photos will be posted sometime during the day of Feb 1st Pacific Standard Time (PST)

I’m in the last time zone on the planet so this works to your advantage. For Example: The Eastern side of North America is 3 hours ahead of me, most of Europe is 8 hours ahead of me and Asia is 16-17 hours ahead of me. You could in theory send me a picture on the morning of Feb 1st your time and I would still receive it early enough on Jan 31st my time to include it, because time is relative.

Next Photo Submission:

February: Unexpected Blooms and/or Ferns

Due: February 28

Photos will be posted sometime during the day of March 1st PST

The Fine Print:  Photo Submissions Guidelines

Email to: natureledlife@gmail.com Subject line: Photo Submission for [month] (Multiple months of photos in one email is fine.) Image: Attached as a .JPEG or .PNG file preferred. Captions each picture: Subject in the photo (if known), State/Providence & Country, Date (optional). Your name as you want it to appear, Your blog link (if you have one.) 

Feel free to add any interesting notes about a picture. I love interesting stories behind things! Let me know if it’s just for ‘my eyes only’ or if I can share any part of it with your photo. Pictures must be your own or you have permission from the Photographer to share it. All copyrights belong to their respective owners. This is a free, fun, community site about nature. Non-commercial and ad free.


Thank you!

Thank you very much to our Nature-Led friends Lisa Troute, IDV, Dinah, and Cathy Litchfield who have already submitted their Moss and Lichen for the month! If you sent in multiple photos rest assured that at least one or two of your photos will be shared! I may not share them all though.

Focus on What You DO Want

Photo by Raine Nectar on Pexels.com

When I was fourteen, I started volunteering at the Spokane Humane Society animal shelter in the 1980s. It took me two early morning buses and a one mile walk from the last bus stop to get there. On my first day I was to start helping out in the puppy room as all new volunteers did. At one point I was asked to get a bucket and a mop from the second door down the hall on the left. Somehow in that short walk I forgot which door to go into though, the first or the second? I went in the first door.

It was the incinerator room. In the center of the room was a pile of dogs and cats. They looked like they were sleeping. I wanted to run out of the building crying and never look back, but my feet wouldn’t let me. When my feet finally did move, they took me down the hall to the next door to grab the bucket and the mop. My only thought being, “If I run away now, I can’t help the animals that are still living.”

My family struggled with a lot of things. My city struggled with a lot of things and still does to this day. Back then, if you didn’t like it, well then, “Suck it up, Buttercup.” or “Welcome to Spokane, Sugarplum.” We felt few people were as tough as us, except maybe someone from Detroit or DC. I’d developed a high tolerance for what I was willing to put up with in life, but I wasn’t willing to accept the death of so many animals. “What are you going to do about it, little girl?” The antagonistic red-neck voice in my head sneered. “I’m going to lower the body count.” I thought matter-of-factly.

I went back to the puppy room determined to learn how to make a difference. When you grow up in a tough environment you learn to think on your feet real fast. If you can’t be stronger, be faster, and if you can’t be faster, be smarter! I quickly learned the ins and outs of the shelter’s operations. During that whole summer I worked 7 days a week from 7am to 7pm same as the shelter’s open hours. I was dependable and consistent. No one looked at me and saw a fourteen-year-old girl or a half-slack volunteer. I earned an equal amount of respect and responsibility as the people that work there. I just didn’t get paid for it.

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko on Pexels.com

I’ve always been pretty good at reading people. It’s a survival skill, but you can only learn so much by looking at someone. I started asking the people what they were looking for in a dog or cat. Do they work a lot? Do they have a house or live in an apartment? The more questions I asked, the more I was able to determine which animals at the shelter would fit the person’s personality and living conditions. I spent a lot of time with these animals. I knew their personalities, their strengths, and their weaknesses. I taught dogs to be potty-trained. I trimmed excess hair away from their eyes so they could use their “puppy eyes” to their full advantage. I taught them how to “shake hands”, “bow” or put their paw over their nose when I asked, “Who farted?” Was it a little gimmicky? Yeah, but everybody wanted a dog like Benji or Lassie at the time, not a Cujo.

For the cats, I kept them clean and immediately quarantined any with the slightest hint of upper respiratory infection. The cats were housed in one room free to roam and the infection is highly contagious. If the room full of cats got the infection, the whole room was put down. We had neither the money nor the manpower to treat them, despite it being as treatable as the common cold in humans.

I drafted out “Adopter profiles” on a yellow legal pad and gave it to the Shelter Director. I gave her additional notes on what I’d learned about what people wanted and how to help the animals meet those needs so that no one left the shelter without an animal. Summer was quickly coming to an end and so was my volunteer time. I couldn’t do both school and volunteer work. As a student with dyslexia who never received support or special allowances, I struggled with schoolwork, low grades, and low self-esteem. At the shelter, I never felt dumb, and I knew what I was doing mattered. The Shelter Director was genuinely grateful for my contribution, and I remember her and the other people I worked with fondly. Of all the animals I’d personally helped get adopted out only one was returned and I still found a home for her before her time ran out. They also hadn’t had to euthanize the entire cat room since my intervention. I’d dramatically reduced the body count. I wish I could have saved them all, but — “I didn’t do nothing.”  I did something!

Years later I’d be living here in Western Washington, married, owning a home, and taking advantage of a free dog training class with my newly adopted dog at the Bellevue Humane Society. They had us fill out a questionnaire about our living situation and lifestyle and it made me think of those “Adopter profiles” I’d made so long ago.

During the dog training class the trainer talked about positive reinforcement. No more shoving a dog’s nose in poop to let them know they’d done wrong. I’d never subscribed to abusive training tactics, but I didn’t know there was a name for the opposite of it. You know how sometimes you feel a certain way or have an idea about something, but you don’t have a name for it? It’s really satisfying when you do learn the feeling or the concept has a name. Positive reinforcement, is something I believe in.


The trainer said something really meaningful that has stayed with me:

Focus on the behaviors you want; not the ones you don’t want.

When you think about it, it’s not just about dog training, but parenting, negotiating with difficult people and our attempts to realize own goals.

I’ve internalized the concept even farther:

Focus on what you want; not on what you don’t want.


How can you change what’s bothering you if you don’t know what you want in life? How can you realize a goal if you don’t know what the goal? I think of goal setting as a mountain path. If you’re working through a complex problem, you often need to start with smaller steps to reach the bigger ones. Sometimes you’ll have to step off the path to gather resources, mentors and/or acolytes but always keep the path and the goal within your sight.

We’ve come a long way when it comes to animal welfare in the United States. We’ve strengthened animal abuse laws, we’ve made it culturally unacceptable to abuse or neglect animals, and we’ve reduced the number of euthanasia in animal shelters. In 2019, the U.S. pet care industry was worth $95.7 Billion dollars! * I don’t think that’s an entirely good thing by itself, but it does demonstrate a cultural shift in our behaviors and beliefs about animal care. Other countries are also making progress in both human and animal welfare, it certainly isn’t limited to just one country!

When it comes to improving the future of humanity and the planet itself, we can’t wait decades to shape holistic climate change policies. We need to find our own paths up the mountain. What are we as individuals and societies willing to consider acceptable in the future? I believe we’re at the forefront of a new zeitgeist of environmental consciousness. For generations the science fiction genre of apocalypse scenarios  has been popular and has tried to warn us of what “could be.” None of us actually want to live through an apocalypse though! These stories remind us that humanity has always struggled and that we as individuals have always had to fight for what we believe in one way or the other. That’s what makes a hero. Stop waiting for someone else to be the hero. It’s you.

What should the narrative about the future of earth and humanity look like?

If you don’t want to live through an apocalypse, then what kind of future do you want?

How do we focus on the behaviors we want to see in ourselves and others? What kind of civilizations do we want to live in?

Please think about these questions. I would love to see some answers in the comments, but I understand if you’re the kind of person that prefer to do “quiet work.” I prefer to do quiet work, but I’m frustrated by what I perceive to be a lack of mentors. We see stories in the media everyday about what’s wrong and “worst case scenarios”, but where are the stories about how to change these things? I’m concerned that our collective fears and feelings of being overwhelmed could turn into acceptance and apathy of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I refuse to accept the deaths of millions of lives on events that haven’t happened yet.

Photo by Nandhu Kumar on Pexels.com

Footnote: * 55 Pet Industry Statistics: 2020/2021 Industry Growth, Market Data & Forecasts | CompareCamp.com