Lichen on the back of a tombstone, in the wonderfully quiet and peaceful churchyard; 7 May 2013.

I love the beauty of natural things – there’s no doubt at all about that! – and just look at the colourful glory of these wonderful and eminently passive organisms.

This image can be viewed in two contexts.  First, and certainly more important, it is a depiction of a lifeform in all its natural beauty.  I recall that lichens in fact consist of two lifeforms – but I can’t remember their names  – and Google is down!

Second, this might be viewed as an abstract image.  It isn’t abstract in fact because the lichens are clearly depicted – it is pictorial in that respect.  But if we mentally draw back from the image and forget its subject, or maybe if we have a few glasses of nectar … no, golden Somerset cider, not Foster’s Lager ….  and peer again at it, rather more blearily this time, then its abstract qualities assert themselves.

This is one for you, Gary – I know lichen loom large in your legend!

Nikon D800 with 70mm-300mm VR Nikkor at 300mm; 1600 ISO.


  1. Glad you like this, Gary – and I can see the nebula!

    Commensalism – that brings back memories – I did biology at school, zoology in first year university and then there was all the ornithology, and a lot of such terms are still orbiting up there in my noble dome, mostly unused now, but still a part of me! A


  2. Beautiful and thought-provoking, Adrian. Don’t need any additional nectar at all; they have their own innate beauty, and this image reminds me of a Hubble shot of a distant nebula. By the way, most of a lichen is composed of filaments of a fungus, but living among the filaments are algal cells, usually from a green alga or a cyanobacteriuim. The relationship between these two organisms, in which both benefit from the cooperation and neither is adversely affected, is called commensalism. Thanks for the dedication, my friend!


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