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Living at the limits of our ordinary perception, mosses are a common but largely unnoticed element of the natural world. Gathering Moss is a beautifully written mix of science and personal reflection that invites readers to explore and learn from the elegantly simple lives of mosses. Robin Wall Kimmerer's book is not an identification guide, nor is it a scientific treatise. Rather, it is a series of linked personal essays that will lead general readers and scientists alike to an understanding of how mosses live and how their lives are intertwined with the lives of countless other beings, from salmon and hummingbirds to redwoods and rednecks. Kimmerer clearly and artfully explains the biology of mosses, while at the same time reflecting on what these fascinating organisms have to teach us.
Drawing on her diverse experiences as a scientist, mother, teacher, and writer of Native American heritage, Kimmerer explains the stories of mosses in scientific terms as well as in the framework of indigenous ways of knowing. In her book, the natural history and cultural relationships of mosses become a powerful metaphor for ways of living in the world.
Gathering Moss will appeal to a wide range of readers, from bryologists to those interested in natural history and the environment, Native Americans, and contemporary nature and science writing.
168 pages, Paperback
First published March 1, 2003
There is an ancient conversation going on between mosses and rocks, poetry to be sure. About light and shadow and the drift of continents.Dr Kimmerer takes us on a walk through the wild, intricate and utterly unforgettable world of mosses.
Electron microscopes let us wander the remote universe of our own cells.Mosses are incredibly common but often shuttled into the background. They aren't towering like trees or flowering like plants but they are uniquely beautiful and infinitesimally complicated.
Our stories tell us that the Creator gave these to us, as original instructions. The foundation of education is to discover that gift within us and learn to use it well.I am a HUGE fan of in depth looks into the mundane and this one was no exception!
In the evenings I'd transcribe the tapes, converting my recorded litany to real data. I wish I'd kept some of those tapes, just for entertainment value. In between the hours of droned numbers were bursts of inspired cursing as the canoe started to drift away, tightening the microphone around my neck. I recorded any number of squeals and frantic splashes when something nibbled at my legs. I even had tape of an entire conversation with passing canoeists who handed me a cold Leinenkugels Ale as they floated by.
The atmosphere is possessive of its water. While the clouds are generous with their rain, the sky always calls it back again with the inexorable pull of evaporation. The moss isn't helpless; it exerts its own pull to counter the powerful draw of the sun. Like a jealous lover, the moss has ways to heighten the attachments of water to itself.