Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Japanese Moss

In Japan, moss enjoys the good life. In America, it is a nuisance to be expunged, here it is a miracle of nature. In America, it grows uncontrolled, here it is a left to its own devices -- two different interpretations of the same phenomenon.

The lush green padding somehow brings out the best in Japan's old walls. From afar, it reads as a thick, velvety cover. But on close inspection it is composed of an infinite-seeming quantity of tiny leaves, each one as delicate as a snowflake. When space is limited, greenery is treasured, no matter how small.

I love the way moss accommodates to its host venue, filling in crevices and smoothing out rough edges. At the same time it encircles deep gaps and glitches, allowing the underlying concrete or stone to make its presence known. Every urban artifact it touches looks better as a result. One would never contemplate scraping it off.

Clearly these mini-plants flourish in the season's heat and humidity. Just looking at the soft green cover makes me feel cooler.

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