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Fitness and Photography for Fun - A blog on staying fit by hiking and doing photography by David Mendosa

Lichen Loop

April 2nd, 2012 · No Comments

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Heil Valley Ranch, a Boulder County park about 15 miles north of my apartment, has five trails, including the 1.3 mile Lichen Loop, which is one of my favorites. But I haven’t gone there in the past four years.

Yesterday afternoon I finally went back, this time along with Nancy, my friend and neighbor. With the temperature reaching 80° under absolutely clear skies even this short hike was rather warm.

The trail wanders through open meadows surrounded by ponderosa pine forests, but provides little shade. This is definitely a trail for spring and fall.

While spring is early this year, few flowers are yet in bloom. But one is this Oregon-grape.

Oregon-grape is Already in Bloom

Oregon-grape is Already in Bloom

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Nancy spotted a bird in one of the ponderosa pine trees. As it moved from one tree to another I followed it and eventually could identify it.

A Steller's Jay

A Steller's Jay

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But the bird that excited me the most was even bigger than the jay, and it was foraging out in the open.

A Wild Turkey Looks Up

A Wild Turkey Looks Up

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The Lichen Loop trail that we hiked does has lichen on its rocks, including the one behind the Wild Turkey. Lichens are a symbiotic combination of two organisms, generally a fungus and an algae. Actually, we are all symbiotic organisms, although we have been slow to recognize that fact.

Symbiosis means living together. It’s usual definition is a close and long-term interaction between different species.

We sometimes forget that symbiosis applies to us as well as to lichens. Yesterday morning the reading at my church reminded us of our symbiotic relationship with the rest of the world. One of my personal guides, Thich Nhat Hanh, calls it “interbeing.” The reading was his poem “Call Me by My True Names.”

This Buddhist monk and peace activist was born in Vietnam and now lives in France. He reminds us that we are “a bud on a spring branch…a tiny bird, with wings still fragile,” as well “the child in Uganda, all skin and bones, my legs as thin as bamboo sticks, and…the arms merchant, selling deadly weapons to Uganda.”

As I learned from my Arica training in the 1970s, “We are one.”


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