Moss: My Latest Photographic Fixation

You can walk the same half mile loop every day and always notice something different. Last week’s obsession? Moss. Especially moss in sidewalk cracks, on the curb, on lamp posts at the park.

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Pacific Northwest winters are green, and moss is one of the reasons. In the summer all the moss gets sort of crunchy and brownish, but in the winter it practically glows.

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Moss beautifies the urban landscape. Even cracks in the sidewalk become fascinating.

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The intersecting seams of green form runic shapes.

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Moss has been around for a long time. It’s one of the oldest plants, and one of the toughest. Another plant that gets bad press from the grassy lawn loving crowd, but is loved enough to merit websites and businesses devoted entirely to moss gardens.

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Of course, moss is enjoying a bit more popularity these days thanks to the terrarium trend. I approve. I’ve loved moss since I was a kid: I used to peel up sections of moss to cover boxes and stones and make fairy furniture.

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These days I like it best when it softens the hard edges of the urban landscape, growing on utilitarian structures and giving them a rustic charm.

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And I love the unexpected compositions it creates: I found the beautiful little zen garden in the picture above growing in a hole in the sidewalk smaller than the palm of my hand. It makes me want to bring mossy stones into my tiny garden patch to keep it interesting in the winter. Lucky for me, there’s a nice article from students at Oregon State on establishing moss in the garden. Now I just need to find some good rocks . . .

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