I’ve noticed that lichen seems to come alive in the winter. In the Smoky Mountains, lichen are everywhere, on boulders and rocks and tree trunks. Maybe they stand out in winter because they are not competing with the lush green foliage of summer. In any case, wandering the quiet winter trails, the lichen really jump out at you. The photo above is a large boulder sticking out of the ground along the Porters Creek Trail in the Greenbrier section of the Smokies. In summer it is quite ordinary, but in winter … neon green!
A lichen is an odd organism made up of a fungus and a partner that provides photosynthesis … either an algae or a bacteria. This can happen in many different ways … if you think wildflowers can be difficult to identify, don’t even think about lichens!
Lichens are persistent and long-living, existing in extreme conditions. I admire them for that, and for their subtle beauty. It’s a fun winter pastime to look for abstract compositions in the boulders and lichens. There are literally hundreds of possibilities.
As usual, the door is open out at the William Britten Gallery on the Arts and Crafts Loop along Glades Rd in Gatlinburg. You’ll find my complete display of photos of the Smoky Mountains. Also, if you enjoy facebook, please click the “Like” button on the panel to the right for frequent updates, bonus offers, and extra photos.