In my dream I’m hoarding pots of mosses and all kinds of plants aflame with autumn color.
Though I dislike crowds, I knew I had to risk it to see the fall colors in Kyoto. I’ve been waiting ever so patiently for my first autumn in Japan, and now that I’ve gotten a taste for it I’m hooked. You don’t have to smoke plants to get high off them, let me tell you. I could probably look at an infinite amount of beautiful fall-colored trees. I certainly understand, but don’t quite ascribe to, the intense obsession with cherry blossom season here, but the sight of one nice maple sends me into an excited frenzy. Combine fall leaves with a particularly cute patch of moss nearby, and I’m basically melting with happiness.
I probably always loved moss, but it was a 7th grade school trip to the temperate rainforests of the Olympic Peninsula in Washington that really cemented my obsession. With mosses, lichens, and liverworts everywhere you turned and a knowledgeable guide who was more than happy to teach me, I practically crawled my way through the forest learning about stairstep moss (Hylocomium splendens), sphagnum, liverworts, lettuce lichen (Lobaria oregana), and any other plant I could get the name of. Japan is, of course, a dream land for a bryophyte lover like me, with an abundance of colonies growing seemingly everywhere.
Even if you’re not specifically interested in mosses, I do recommend reading Robin Wall Kimmerer’s poignant and informative book of personal essays about moss. Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses is one of those books that seemed to be written just for me, but anyone with an interest in nature, science, Native American history, or the environment will find this a quick but extremely satisfying read. And you may very well grow to love mosses as much as I do.