what’s life to a lichen


It is easy to overlook this thought that life just is. As humans we are inclined to feel that life must have a point. We have plans and aspirations and desires. We want to take constant advantage of the intoxicating existence we’ve been endowed with. But what’s life to a lichen? Yet its impulse to exist, to be, is every bit as strong as ours–arguably even stronger. If I were told that I had to spend decades being a furry growth on a rock in the woods, I believe I would lose the will to go on. Lichens don’t. Like virtually all living things, they will suffer any hardship, endure any insult, for a moment’s additions existence. Life, in short just wants to be.

~ Bill Bryson, A Short History of Nearly Everything

One thought on “what’s life to a lichen

  1. What a gorgeous limpid photo.

    You know, I don’t think Bill Bryson would turn down the option of ‘decades being a furry growth on a rock in the woods’ if the only alternative was death. I think, after the first shock, he’d grab the opportunity with both hands.

    As lichens are dual organisms, he’d have a companion to share his new life: http://www.snh.org.uk/publications/on-line/NaturallyScottish/lichens/whatislichens.asp Till death us do part!


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