Year of Grace, Day 109. Dancing with elves

Snow flurries – big and fat — again this morning, belying the past few days’ almost-spring. Ignoring the dreary grey outdoors, I take out photos taken just the other day of a magical spot where elves and fairies might fancy dancing. A shaft of sun had lit up this enchanted spot and I could not resist sharing it with you. Please click on the photos to enlarge.

This enchanting, elfin dance floor is just atop a wall of granite slabs that was bare when we moved in over two years ago. Watered whenever I remembered with yogurt or buttermilk – even the merest dregs eked out with water will do — the stones have taken on a coat of gossamer green. Occasionally I’ve brushed the yogurt in to further encourage mosses to settle in. And the yogurt and buttermilk baths seem to have created the perfect conditions for this type of moss.

As you can see, there are spores developing, which can take from 3 months to half a year to mature. Apparently the spore-bearing part —  called the sporophyte —  is a distinct plant from the “leaves” (the gametophyte) at the bottom. What a fascinating structure and life cycle mosses, also known as bryophytes, have — these first plants to brave their way out of the water onto dry land! And amazingly and perhaps fortuitously, mosses possess no roots to enable them to access water from within and anchor them to the soil, yet conversely they do not die when dried out. When moisture is restored, their life is resuscitated – everlasting life indeed!