Monday, June 27, 2011

Moss, Hemlock, and Magnolia

We continue to experience soggier than usual weather here.  It's probably not a great summer for those who like to spend their time at the pool, but there is an up side to all this extra moisture- the plants of Shabo Mekaw are lovin' it.  For those who aren't familiar, Shabo Mekaw is our beautiful 60 acre paradise out in Lewis County, at the edge of the Appalachian plateau of Kentucky.  It is normally a more humid place than here, but I could tell that the droughts and hotter temperatures of the last few summers were taking their toll on the sensitive inhabitants of that delicate ecosystem.  Frankly, I was particularly worried about the health of the hemlocks, the big leaf magnolias, and the mosses, which seemed to be struggling.  But this year, they're beginning to come back.

I don't know the names of all the mosses that grow here,

 but I think this kind is called shining club moss.

The plant with tiny white branches is a mystery- strange, but beautiful...

I call this pillow moss, for obvious reasons. 
Close up, it looks like feathers, and does feel soft enough to lay your head on...

To walk through a hemlock glade is to feel peace... see the world through a curtain of green lace, be sheltered by an umbrella of giant magnolia leaves
(often longer than my forearm),

this is peace...

                     The Presence of Trees
                     by Michael S. Glaser

I have always felt the living presence
of trees
the forest that calls to me as deeply
as I breathe,
as though the woods were marrow of my bone
as though
I myself were tree, a breathing, reaching
arc of the larger canopy
beside a brook bubbling to foam
like the one
deep in these woods,
that calls
that whispers home


  1. Wow, looks JUST like my forest floor... I think that plant is a kind of lichen... don;t have magnolias here, but the hemlocks and mosses look pretty much the same! They do so love moisture. We're having the rain, too. Seems like its feast or famine - or, at least in the US these days its rain or heat and fire... yikes!

  2. those hemlocks!! i am so happy to see such big ones! there are hardly any big hemlocks in virginia now - something has killed them (i can't remember what). oh how i dearly love hemlocks...

    *all* of these photos are gorgeous and make me smile, sharmon. thank you...


  3. Stunning post Sharmon...
    forgive me being so busy to visit of late... the header is just gorgeous too...
    There's something about moss that really touches me...
    hope you are going well..
    back son I hope!

  4. What marvelous shots of a wonderful place to be.
    I love to paint moss on trees and rocks...this would be heaven to paint there. I had no idea that Hemlock trees get that big!! Enjoyed the poem too. Have a sunny day!!!

  5. Nice shots of my favorite subject. The woods fascinate me as well. The woods is like life--dark and dense watch your step in spots, open brilliance free and clear just over that fallen barricade. Surprises that delight along the way of wild flowers and streams and small lakes and wild life.

  6. Lovely! Thanks for sharing a piece of your world, Sharmon. I love the pillow moss. :)

  7. These photos are gorgeous, Sharmon! I would love to be walking where you took them right now.

    I think the little pale green branching plant is reindeer lichen.

  8. Guess we can add mosshugger to the treehugger designation too Sharmon. Beautiful.

  9. beautiful photos Sharmon - i especially love the luscious mosses... your close ups are so very cool!!
    like you, things i've been concerned about, for the past couple years, seem to have made a great comeback with all the rain, and cooler temps than usual. it's been a blessing :)
    xoxo k

  10. What absolutely wonderful photos. I have been transported! Thank you.

  11. I enjoy the way you walk through nature- your photography is striking.


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