While the tree branches are still bare, and there are no flash green plants to pull focus, I decided to spend this morning’s walk looking at evidence of cooperation at a small scale.Lichens are organisms that developed through a symbiotic relationship between fungi and algae or cyanobacteria. This partnership has gone on to form many variations, and the different shapes and colors add visual variety to what would otherwise be a pretty monotone winter landscape.

When I picture lichen, I tend to imagine subdued shades of olive and willow green, pale bottle green… possibly mixed with chalky ivory or slate gray.But lichens also come in bright, almost phosphorescent tones of chartreuse, and even basketball orange…
or egg-yolk yellow…and other hues that wake up my eyes to the other overlooked colors in an otherwise muted landscape.

[Thanks to the following photographers for making their work available through the Creative Commons license: Randi Hausken; Holly Gramazio; Kaarina Dillabough; Michael (a.k.a. moik) McCulloughAndy Armstrong; Dominic Alves; and Richard Droker© 2018 Sidewalk Zendo. Reprints welcomed with written permission from the author.]

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