I’m grateful for the color and diversity of lichens along Buck Canyon, and for the time in my day to be able to walk where I can see them. I’m grateful to live among this pioneering, composite life form, and its ancient mystery, in the old growth forest. Lichens not only are the first type of life to colonize bare rock when it’s been exposed by some shift in the earth, a mudslide or a road cut, any earthly upheaval, they also break down that bare rock eventually, turning it into fertile soil. They are slow replenishers of earth. I suppose when the Sixth Great Extinction consumes humans as well as other animate lifeforms, lichens will remain and life will start again. I’m grateful to be acquainted, ever so slightly, with these sedate, essential neighbors. Someday soon, I will turn my attention to understanding them more deeply, becoming their friends.