LICHENS A WORD PICTURE BY
Meek creatures 1 The first meroy o the earth, veiling with hushed softness Its dlntless rooks. No words that I know o will say what mosses are. None are delicate enough, none perfeot enough, none rioh enough. How is one to tell of (he rounded booees of furred and beaming green — the stirred divisions of rubied bloom, fine filmed, as if the Rook Spirits could Bpln porphyry as we do glass— the traceries of Intricate silver, and fringes of amb^r, lustroua, arborttsbeiit, onrnTsbed through fibre Into fitful brightness and glossy traverses of sl'ken change, yet al! subdued and pensive and framed for simplest, sweetest offices of grace. They will not be gathered, like the fl >vrera, for ohaplet or love-token ; but of these tl.e wild bird will make his nest, and the wearied ehtld his pillow. And, as the earth's first meroy, so they are Its last gift to us. When all other service Is vain, from plant and tree, the soft mosses and grey lichen take np their watoh by the headstone. The woods, the blossoms, the gift-bearing grasses, have done their part for a time, but these do service for ever. Trees for the builder's yard, Sowars for the bride's obamher, oora for the granary, moss for the grave. Yet as In one sense the humblest, In another they are the most honored of the earth-ohlldren. Unfading as motionless, the worm frets them not, and the autumn wastes not. Strong In lowliness, they neither blanch In heat, nor plue In froßt. To them, slow-fingered, constant-hearted, Is entrusted the weaving of the dark eternal tapestries of the hills ; to them, slow-penollled, iris-dyed, the tenderf raining of the endless tmtgiery. Sharing the stillness of the nnlmpassloned rook, they share also its endurance ; and while the winds of departing Spring scatter the white hawthorn blossom like drifted snow, and summer dims on the parched meadow the drooping of Its cowslip (told — far above, among the mountains, the silver liohen spot rests, ttarltke. on the stone ; and the gathering orange stain upon the edge of yonder wester peak n fleets the sunsets of a thousand years.
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