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Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Tree Moss Magic

Tree Moss Magic

Fairies weave tree moss at night.
I knew that when I was six.  I knew that fairy-folk knit threads of green felt into webs of tree moss, while I slept.  The fairies made lace and nests and cradle-swings and fastened them to trees.   Glittering, dew-covered, delicate, pale green…obviously these were created by the fairies, these were magic.
Some say that tree moss results from the damp and shady conditions found in coastal forests like those on the eastern shore of New Brunswick.  They claim moss requires dampness, a high level of moisture for the vascular system to survive and requires liquid to complete fertilisation.  Tree moss shows appreciation for wetness by growing best on the north side of tree trunks, the upper parts of branches and in the shadier crotches of trees.  That is what we think when we lose imagination. 
But when the sight of wobbly green draping from trees draws me back to childhood, I remember that this is where I found magic.  There is magic in maple blossoms, in the curve of an acorn, in the new green at the tips of conifers, in the mushroomed decay of stumps and in the spongy clumps of ground moss sprouting spring violets.  Children know what adults have forgotten.
Cross the driveway, jump over the ditch, scramble through the alders that clutch like witches’ fingers and escape deep into the forest of birch and maple and evergreens.   Search for the place of winter deadfall, a clearing, an open space.  Here it is.  Leaves become dishes.  Twigs and branches become utensils and brooms.  Rocks and logs are seats and tables.  And moss, moss can be anything—cushions, decorations, food, stuffing for cracks in tables; moss can be fairy magic.
To play in a secluded wood, with sunlight slanting through the canopy of trees, to hear birdsong and the burbling ditch, to breathe balsam and damp earth, to gaze in wonder at pale moss dangling from trees, that is mystery, full of possibility and magic. 
A child of six no more, at ten times six, l still smile when I discover tree moss. 

I smile and a thought flickers, “Ah, the fairy-folk were weaving cradles and nests, while I slept.”

Photos and words are mine.


Anonymous said...

And I used tree moss as moustache material and would pick it and proudly waer it around, nose scrunched to hold it in place--the longer it was, the bigger the moustache...when I wasn't wearing it, I was using it as materials for decorating mud cakes. MM.

Carol Steel said...

Ha, a moustache, hadn't thought of that. I decorated mud cakes too. Forgot that one. Thanks for the comment.

Crafty Green Poet said...

beautiful photos, I love moss and lichens on trees, something definitely magical about them as you say!

Carol Steel said...

When I was small I thought all of nature was magic. I guess it is really, have to remind myself of that as an adult. Thanks for your comment.