6 November 2012

Lichen: bacteria, algae, fungi

In the fourth century BC, Zhuanzi wrote of an old man tossed in the tumult at the base of a tall waterfall. Terrified onlookers rushed to his aid, but the man emerged unharmed and calm. When asked how he could survive this ordeal he replied, "acquiescence...I accommodate myself to the water, not the water to me." Lichens found this wisdom four hundred million years before the Taoists. The true masters of victory through submission in Zhuangzi's allegory were the lichens clinging to the rock walls around the waterfall.
-- from The Forest Unseen by David George Haskell.

Lichen on rowan tree in Llyfnant valley

P.S. David Barash has a Buddhist take on ecology here.

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