annmarcaida:

WHY WE BECOME BIOLOGISTS (Excerpt from novel The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Glbert)
"Alma came to the first boulder in the outcropping.  As she had suspected and hoped, it was blanketed in moss.  Alma knelt in the tall grass and brought her face as near as she could to the stone.  And there, rising no more than an inch above the boulder, she saw a great and tiny forest.  Nothing moved within this mossy world… Alma put the magnifying glass to her eye and looked again… Now the miniature forest below her gaze sprang into majestic detail.  
She felt her breath catch. This was a stupefying kingdom.  This was the Amazon jungle as seen from the back of a harpy eagle… She rode her eye above the surprising landscape, following its paths in every direction.  Here were rich, abundant valleys of braided mermaid hair and minuscule, tangled vines…
She found another continent of moss altogether… Here, the moss grew in mountain ranges the length of Alma’s arms, in elegant, pine tree-shaped clusters of darker, more somber green.  On another quadrant of the same boulder still, she found patches of infinitesimally small deserts, inhabited by some kind of dry, flaking moss that had the appearance of cactus.
Then Alma lifted her face and saw what was before her— dozens more such boulders, each one similarly carpeted, each one subtly different.  This was the entire world.  This was bigger than a world…. These were ancient unexplored galaxies, rolling forth right in front of her…”
*******************************************************************************************
Ann says:  Elizabeth Gilbert took the words out of my mouth. Biology consists of worlds nested within other worlds. 
The plants that so fascinate the protagonist of this novel are the bryophytes (which include mosses) and lichens.  Mosses are direct descendants of algae, the first living plants.
The Signature of All Things copyright 2013 by Elizabeth Gilbert.  Pages 161-162 in Kindle version.
Note that paragraph breaks and title of this post are mine.
Images, from top left:  1. Moss sporophytes by artwallpaperhi.com  2. Clover in common haircap moss by ephotozine.com  3. Lichens and pine needles by arcadiacreations.com  4.   5. Closeup of rainforest floor, Tasmania by Luke O’Brien  6. Polytrichum juniperinum (juniper polytrichum moss) by 123rf.com  7. Dicranella moss by 10wallpaper.com Moss growing at the base of a flowering plant by slrphotographyguide.com  8. Mix of reindeer lichen, Cladonia and various mosses on the Arctic tundra  by Robert Berdan  9. Ant drinking from pool in moss by pointofviewcameras.com  10.A close-up view of dendritic (branching) moss by f/4 on Flickr
Zoom Info
annmarcaida:

WHY WE BECOME BIOLOGISTS (Excerpt from novel The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Glbert)
"Alma came to the first boulder in the outcropping.  As she had suspected and hoped, it was blanketed in moss.  Alma knelt in the tall grass and brought her face as near as she could to the stone.  And there, rising no more than an inch above the boulder, she saw a great and tiny forest.  Nothing moved within this mossy world… Alma put the magnifying glass to her eye and looked again… Now the miniature forest below her gaze sprang into majestic detail.  
She felt her breath catch. This was a stupefying kingdom.  This was the Amazon jungle as seen from the back of a harpy eagle… She rode her eye above the surprising landscape, following its paths in every direction.  Here were rich, abundant valleys of braided mermaid hair and minuscule, tangled vines…
She found another continent of moss altogether… Here, the moss grew in mountain ranges the length of Alma’s arms, in elegant, pine tree-shaped clusters of darker, more somber green.  On another quadrant of the same boulder still, she found patches of infinitesimally small deserts, inhabited by some kind of dry, flaking moss that had the appearance of cactus.
Then Alma lifted her face and saw what was before her— dozens more such boulders, each one similarly carpeted, each one subtly different.  This was the entire world.  This was bigger than a world…. These were ancient unexplored galaxies, rolling forth right in front of her…”
*******************************************************************************************
Ann says:  Elizabeth Gilbert took the words out of my mouth. Biology consists of worlds nested within other worlds. 
The plants that so fascinate the protagonist of this novel are the bryophytes (which include mosses) and lichens.  Mosses are direct descendants of algae, the first living plants.
The Signature of All Things copyright 2013 by Elizabeth Gilbert.  Pages 161-162 in Kindle version.
Note that paragraph breaks and title of this post are mine.
Images, from top left:  1. Moss sporophytes by artwallpaperhi.com  2. Clover in common haircap moss by ephotozine.com  3. Lichens and pine needles by arcadiacreations.com  4.   5. Closeup of rainforest floor, Tasmania by Luke O’Brien  6. Polytrichum juniperinum (juniper polytrichum moss) by 123rf.com  7. Dicranella moss by 10wallpaper.com Moss growing at the base of a flowering plant by slrphotographyguide.com  8. Mix of reindeer lichen, Cladonia and various mosses on the Arctic tundra  by Robert Berdan  9. Ant drinking from pool in moss by pointofviewcameras.com  10.A close-up view of dendritic (branching) moss by f/4 on Flickr
Zoom Info
annmarcaida:

WHY WE BECOME BIOLOGISTS (Excerpt from novel The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Glbert)
"Alma came to the first boulder in the outcropping.  As she had suspected and hoped, it was blanketed in moss.  Alma knelt in the tall grass and brought her face as near as she could to the stone.  And there, rising no more than an inch above the boulder, she saw a great and tiny forest.  Nothing moved within this mossy world… Alma put the magnifying glass to her eye and looked again… Now the miniature forest below her gaze sprang into majestic detail.  
She felt her breath catch. This was a stupefying kingdom.  This was the Amazon jungle as seen from the back of a harpy eagle… She rode her eye above the surprising landscape, following its paths in every direction.  Here were rich, abundant valleys of braided mermaid hair and minuscule, tangled vines…
She found another continent of moss altogether… Here, the moss grew in mountain ranges the length of Alma’s arms, in elegant, pine tree-shaped clusters of darker, more somber green.  On another quadrant of the same boulder still, she found patches of infinitesimally small deserts, inhabited by some kind of dry, flaking moss that had the appearance of cactus.
Then Alma lifted her face and saw what was before her— dozens more such boulders, each one similarly carpeted, each one subtly different.  This was the entire world.  This was bigger than a world…. These were ancient unexplored galaxies, rolling forth right in front of her…”
*******************************************************************************************
Ann says:  Elizabeth Gilbert took the words out of my mouth. Biology consists of worlds nested within other worlds. 
The plants that so fascinate the protagonist of this novel are the bryophytes (which include mosses) and lichens.  Mosses are direct descendants of algae, the first living plants.
The Signature of All Things copyright 2013 by Elizabeth Gilbert.  Pages 161-162 in Kindle version.
Note that paragraph breaks and title of this post are mine.
Images, from top left:  1. Moss sporophytes by artwallpaperhi.com  2. Clover in common haircap moss by ephotozine.com  3. Lichens and pine needles by arcadiacreations.com  4.   5. Closeup of rainforest floor, Tasmania by Luke O’Brien  6. Polytrichum juniperinum (juniper polytrichum moss) by 123rf.com  7. Dicranella moss by 10wallpaper.com Moss growing at the base of a flowering plant by slrphotographyguide.com  8. Mix of reindeer lichen, Cladonia and various mosses on the Arctic tundra  by Robert Berdan  9. Ant drinking from pool in moss by pointofviewcameras.com  10.A close-up view of dendritic (branching) moss by f/4 on Flickr
Zoom Info
annmarcaida:

WHY WE BECOME BIOLOGISTS (Excerpt from novel The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Glbert)
"Alma came to the first boulder in the outcropping.  As she had suspected and hoped, it was blanketed in moss.  Alma knelt in the tall grass and brought her face as near as she could to the stone.  And there, rising no more than an inch above the boulder, she saw a great and tiny forest.  Nothing moved within this mossy world… Alma put the magnifying glass to her eye and looked again… Now the miniature forest below her gaze sprang into majestic detail.  
She felt her breath catch. This was a stupefying kingdom.  This was the Amazon jungle as seen from the back of a harpy eagle… She rode her eye above the surprising landscape, following its paths in every direction.  Here were rich, abundant valleys of braided mermaid hair and minuscule, tangled vines…
She found another continent of moss altogether… Here, the moss grew in mountain ranges the length of Alma’s arms, in elegant, pine tree-shaped clusters of darker, more somber green.  On another quadrant of the same boulder still, she found patches of infinitesimally small deserts, inhabited by some kind of dry, flaking moss that had the appearance of cactus.
Then Alma lifted her face and saw what was before her— dozens more such boulders, each one similarly carpeted, each one subtly different.  This was the entire world.  This was bigger than a world…. These were ancient unexplored galaxies, rolling forth right in front of her…”
*******************************************************************************************
Ann says:  Elizabeth Gilbert took the words out of my mouth. Biology consists of worlds nested within other worlds. 
The plants that so fascinate the protagonist of this novel are the bryophytes (which include mosses) and lichens.  Mosses are direct descendants of algae, the first living plants.
The Signature of All Things copyright 2013 by Elizabeth Gilbert.  Pages 161-162 in Kindle version.
Note that paragraph breaks and title of this post are mine.
Images, from top left:  1. Moss sporophytes by artwallpaperhi.com  2. Clover in common haircap moss by ephotozine.com  3. Lichens and pine needles by arcadiacreations.com  4.   5. Closeup of rainforest floor, Tasmania by Luke O’Brien  6. Polytrichum juniperinum (juniper polytrichum moss) by 123rf.com  7. Dicranella moss by 10wallpaper.com Moss growing at the base of a flowering plant by slrphotographyguide.com  8. Mix of reindeer lichen, Cladonia and various mosses on the Arctic tundra  by Robert Berdan  9. Ant drinking from pool in moss by pointofviewcameras.com  10.A close-up view of dendritic (branching) moss by f/4 on Flickr
Zoom Info
annmarcaida:

WHY WE BECOME BIOLOGISTS (Excerpt from novel The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Glbert)
"Alma came to the first boulder in the outcropping.  As she had suspected and hoped, it was blanketed in moss.  Alma knelt in the tall grass and brought her face as near as she could to the stone.  And there, rising no more than an inch above the boulder, she saw a great and tiny forest.  Nothing moved within this mossy world… Alma put the magnifying glass to her eye and looked again… Now the miniature forest below her gaze sprang into majestic detail.  
She felt her breath catch. This was a stupefying kingdom.  This was the Amazon jungle as seen from the back of a harpy eagle… She rode her eye above the surprising landscape, following its paths in every direction.  Here were rich, abundant valleys of braided mermaid hair and minuscule, tangled vines…
She found another continent of moss altogether… Here, the moss grew in mountain ranges the length of Alma’s arms, in elegant, pine tree-shaped clusters of darker, more somber green.  On another quadrant of the same boulder still, she found patches of infinitesimally small deserts, inhabited by some kind of dry, flaking moss that had the appearance of cactus.
Then Alma lifted her face and saw what was before her— dozens more such boulders, each one similarly carpeted, each one subtly different.  This was the entire world.  This was bigger than a world…. These were ancient unexplored galaxies, rolling forth right in front of her…”
*******************************************************************************************
Ann says:  Elizabeth Gilbert took the words out of my mouth. Biology consists of worlds nested within other worlds. 
The plants that so fascinate the protagonist of this novel are the bryophytes (which include mosses) and lichens.  Mosses are direct descendants of algae, the first living plants.
The Signature of All Things copyright 2013 by Elizabeth Gilbert.  Pages 161-162 in Kindle version.
Note that paragraph breaks and title of this post are mine.
Images, from top left:  1. Moss sporophytes by artwallpaperhi.com  2. Clover in common haircap moss by ephotozine.com  3. Lichens and pine needles by arcadiacreations.com  4.   5. Closeup of rainforest floor, Tasmania by Luke O’Brien  6. Polytrichum juniperinum (juniper polytrichum moss) by 123rf.com  7. Dicranella moss by 10wallpaper.com Moss growing at the base of a flowering plant by slrphotographyguide.com  8. Mix of reindeer lichen, Cladonia and various mosses on the Arctic tundra  by Robert Berdan  9. Ant drinking from pool in moss by pointofviewcameras.com  10.A close-up view of dendritic (branching) moss by f/4 on Flickr
Zoom Info
annmarcaida:

WHY WE BECOME BIOLOGISTS (Excerpt from novel The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Glbert)
"Alma came to the first boulder in the outcropping.  As she had suspected and hoped, it was blanketed in moss.  Alma knelt in the tall grass and brought her face as near as she could to the stone.  And there, rising no more than an inch above the boulder, she saw a great and tiny forest.  Nothing moved within this mossy world… Alma put the magnifying glass to her eye and looked again… Now the miniature forest below her gaze sprang into majestic detail.  
She felt her breath catch. This was a stupefying kingdom.  This was the Amazon jungle as seen from the back of a harpy eagle… She rode her eye above the surprising landscape, following its paths in every direction.  Here were rich, abundant valleys of braided mermaid hair and minuscule, tangled vines…
She found another continent of moss altogether… Here, the moss grew in mountain ranges the length of Alma’s arms, in elegant, pine tree-shaped clusters of darker, more somber green.  On another quadrant of the same boulder still, she found patches of infinitesimally small deserts, inhabited by some kind of dry, flaking moss that had the appearance of cactus.
Then Alma lifted her face and saw what was before her— dozens more such boulders, each one similarly carpeted, each one subtly different.  This was the entire world.  This was bigger than a world…. These were ancient unexplored galaxies, rolling forth right in front of her…”
*******************************************************************************************
Ann says:  Elizabeth Gilbert took the words out of my mouth. Biology consists of worlds nested within other worlds. 
The plants that so fascinate the protagonist of this novel are the bryophytes (which include mosses) and lichens.  Mosses are direct descendants of algae, the first living plants.
The Signature of All Things copyright 2013 by Elizabeth Gilbert.  Pages 161-162 in Kindle version.
Note that paragraph breaks and title of this post are mine.
Images, from top left:  1. Moss sporophytes by artwallpaperhi.com  2. Clover in common haircap moss by ephotozine.com  3. Lichens and pine needles by arcadiacreations.com  4.   5. Closeup of rainforest floor, Tasmania by Luke O’Brien  6. Polytrichum juniperinum (juniper polytrichum moss) by 123rf.com  7. Dicranella moss by 10wallpaper.com Moss growing at the base of a flowering plant by slrphotographyguide.com  8. Mix of reindeer lichen, Cladonia and various mosses on the Arctic tundra  by Robert Berdan  9. Ant drinking from pool in moss by pointofviewcameras.com  10.A close-up view of dendritic (branching) moss by f/4 on Flickr
Zoom Info
annmarcaida:

WHY WE BECOME BIOLOGISTS (Excerpt from novel The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Glbert)
"Alma came to the first boulder in the outcropping.  As she had suspected and hoped, it was blanketed in moss.  Alma knelt in the tall grass and brought her face as near as she could to the stone.  And there, rising no more than an inch above the boulder, she saw a great and tiny forest.  Nothing moved within this mossy world… Alma put the magnifying glass to her eye and looked again… Now the miniature forest below her gaze sprang into majestic detail.  
She felt her breath catch. This was a stupefying kingdom.  This was the Amazon jungle as seen from the back of a harpy eagle… She rode her eye above the surprising landscape, following its paths in every direction.  Here were rich, abundant valleys of braided mermaid hair and minuscule, tangled vines…
She found another continent of moss altogether… Here, the moss grew in mountain ranges the length of Alma’s arms, in elegant, pine tree-shaped clusters of darker, more somber green.  On another quadrant of the same boulder still, she found patches of infinitesimally small deserts, inhabited by some kind of dry, flaking moss that had the appearance of cactus.
Then Alma lifted her face and saw what was before her— dozens more such boulders, each one similarly carpeted, each one subtly different.  This was the entire world.  This was bigger than a world…. These were ancient unexplored galaxies, rolling forth right in front of her…”
*******************************************************************************************
Ann says:  Elizabeth Gilbert took the words out of my mouth. Biology consists of worlds nested within other worlds. 
The plants that so fascinate the protagonist of this novel are the bryophytes (which include mosses) and lichens.  Mosses are direct descendants of algae, the first living plants.
The Signature of All Things copyright 2013 by Elizabeth Gilbert.  Pages 161-162 in Kindle version.
Note that paragraph breaks and title of this post are mine.
Images, from top left:  1. Moss sporophytes by artwallpaperhi.com  2. Clover in common haircap moss by ephotozine.com  3. Lichens and pine needles by arcadiacreations.com  4.   5. Closeup of rainforest floor, Tasmania by Luke O’Brien  6. Polytrichum juniperinum (juniper polytrichum moss) by 123rf.com  7. Dicranella moss by 10wallpaper.com Moss growing at the base of a flowering plant by slrphotographyguide.com  8. Mix of reindeer lichen, Cladonia and various mosses on the Arctic tundra  by Robert Berdan  9. Ant drinking from pool in moss by pointofviewcameras.com  10.A close-up view of dendritic (branching) moss by f/4 on Flickr
Zoom Info
annmarcaida:

WHY WE BECOME BIOLOGISTS (Excerpt from novel The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Glbert)
"Alma came to the first boulder in the outcropping.  As she had suspected and hoped, it was blanketed in moss.  Alma knelt in the tall grass and brought her face as near as she could to the stone.  And there, rising no more than an inch above the boulder, she saw a great and tiny forest.  Nothing moved within this mossy world… Alma put the magnifying glass to her eye and looked again… Now the miniature forest below her gaze sprang into majestic detail.  
She felt her breath catch. This was a stupefying kingdom.  This was the Amazon jungle as seen from the back of a harpy eagle… She rode her eye above the surprising landscape, following its paths in every direction.  Here were rich, abundant valleys of braided mermaid hair and minuscule, tangled vines…
She found another continent of moss altogether… Here, the moss grew in mountain ranges the length of Alma’s arms, in elegant, pine tree-shaped clusters of darker, more somber green.  On another quadrant of the same boulder still, she found patches of infinitesimally small deserts, inhabited by some kind of dry, flaking moss that had the appearance of cactus.
Then Alma lifted her face and saw what was before her— dozens more such boulders, each one similarly carpeted, each one subtly different.  This was the entire world.  This was bigger than a world…. These were ancient unexplored galaxies, rolling forth right in front of her…”
*******************************************************************************************
Ann says:  Elizabeth Gilbert took the words out of my mouth. Biology consists of worlds nested within other worlds. 
The plants that so fascinate the protagonist of this novel are the bryophytes (which include mosses) and lichens.  Mosses are direct descendants of algae, the first living plants.
The Signature of All Things copyright 2013 by Elizabeth Gilbert.  Pages 161-162 in Kindle version.
Note that paragraph breaks and title of this post are mine.
Images, from top left:  1. Moss sporophytes by artwallpaperhi.com  2. Clover in common haircap moss by ephotozine.com  3. Lichens and pine needles by arcadiacreations.com  4.   5. Closeup of rainforest floor, Tasmania by Luke O’Brien  6. Polytrichum juniperinum (juniper polytrichum moss) by 123rf.com  7. Dicranella moss by 10wallpaper.com Moss growing at the base of a flowering plant by slrphotographyguide.com  8. Mix of reindeer lichen, Cladonia and various mosses on the Arctic tundra  by Robert Berdan  9. Ant drinking from pool in moss by pointofviewcameras.com  10.A close-up view of dendritic (branching) moss by f/4 on Flickr
Zoom Info
annmarcaida:

WHY WE BECOME BIOLOGISTS (Excerpt from novel The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Glbert)
"Alma came to the first boulder in the outcropping.  As she had suspected and hoped, it was blanketed in moss.  Alma knelt in the tall grass and brought her face as near as she could to the stone.  And there, rising no more than an inch above the boulder, she saw a great and tiny forest.  Nothing moved within this mossy world… Alma put the magnifying glass to her eye and looked again… Now the miniature forest below her gaze sprang into majestic detail.  
She felt her breath catch. This was a stupefying kingdom.  This was the Amazon jungle as seen from the back of a harpy eagle… She rode her eye above the surprising landscape, following its paths in every direction.  Here were rich, abundant valleys of braided mermaid hair and minuscule, tangled vines…
She found another continent of moss altogether… Here, the moss grew in mountain ranges the length of Alma’s arms, in elegant, pine tree-shaped clusters of darker, more somber green.  On another quadrant of the same boulder still, she found patches of infinitesimally small deserts, inhabited by some kind of dry, flaking moss that had the appearance of cactus.
Then Alma lifted her face and saw what was before her— dozens more such boulders, each one similarly carpeted, each one subtly different.  This was the entire world.  This was bigger than a world…. These were ancient unexplored galaxies, rolling forth right in front of her…”
*******************************************************************************************
Ann says:  Elizabeth Gilbert took the words out of my mouth. Biology consists of worlds nested within other worlds. 
The plants that so fascinate the protagonist of this novel are the bryophytes (which include mosses) and lichens.  Mosses are direct descendants of algae, the first living plants.
The Signature of All Things copyright 2013 by Elizabeth Gilbert.  Pages 161-162 in Kindle version.
Note that paragraph breaks and title of this post are mine.
Images, from top left:  1. Moss sporophytes by artwallpaperhi.com  2. Clover in common haircap moss by ephotozine.com  3. Lichens and pine needles by arcadiacreations.com  4.   5. Closeup of rainforest floor, Tasmania by Luke O’Brien  6. Polytrichum juniperinum (juniper polytrichum moss) by 123rf.com  7. Dicranella moss by 10wallpaper.com Moss growing at the base of a flowering plant by slrphotographyguide.com  8. Mix of reindeer lichen, Cladonia and various mosses on the Arctic tundra  by Robert Berdan  9. Ant drinking from pool in moss by pointofviewcameras.com  10.A close-up view of dendritic (branching) moss by f/4 on Flickr
Zoom Info
annmarcaida:

WHY WE BECOME BIOLOGISTS (Excerpt from novel The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Glbert)
"Alma came to the first boulder in the outcropping.  As she had suspected and hoped, it was blanketed in moss.  Alma knelt in the tall grass and brought her face as near as she could to the stone.  And there, rising no more than an inch above the boulder, she saw a great and tiny forest.  Nothing moved within this mossy world… Alma put the magnifying glass to her eye and looked again… Now the miniature forest below her gaze sprang into majestic detail.  
She felt her breath catch. This was a stupefying kingdom.  This was the Amazon jungle as seen from the back of a harpy eagle… She rode her eye above the surprising landscape, following its paths in every direction.  Here were rich, abundant valleys of braided mermaid hair and minuscule, tangled vines…
She found another continent of moss altogether… Here, the moss grew in mountain ranges the length of Alma’s arms, in elegant, pine tree-shaped clusters of darker, more somber green.  On another quadrant of the same boulder still, she found patches of infinitesimally small deserts, inhabited by some kind of dry, flaking moss that had the appearance of cactus.
Then Alma lifted her face and saw what was before her— dozens more such boulders, each one similarly carpeted, each one subtly different.  This was the entire world.  This was bigger than a world…. These were ancient unexplored galaxies, rolling forth right in front of her…”
*******************************************************************************************
Ann says:  Elizabeth Gilbert took the words out of my mouth. Biology consists of worlds nested within other worlds. 
The plants that so fascinate the protagonist of this novel are the bryophytes (which include mosses) and lichens.  Mosses are direct descendants of algae, the first living plants.
The Signature of All Things copyright 2013 by Elizabeth Gilbert.  Pages 161-162 in Kindle version.
Note that paragraph breaks and title of this post are mine.
Images, from top left:  1. Moss sporophytes by artwallpaperhi.com  2. Clover in common haircap moss by ephotozine.com  3. Lichens and pine needles by arcadiacreations.com  4.   5. Closeup of rainforest floor, Tasmania by Luke O’Brien  6. Polytrichum juniperinum (juniper polytrichum moss) by 123rf.com  7. Dicranella moss by 10wallpaper.com Moss growing at the base of a flowering plant by slrphotographyguide.com  8. Mix of reindeer lichen, Cladonia and various mosses on the Arctic tundra  by Robert Berdan  9. Ant drinking from pool in moss by pointofviewcameras.com  10.A close-up view of dendritic (branching) moss by f/4 on Flickr
Zoom Info

annmarcaida:

WHY WE BECOME BIOLOGISTS (Excerpt from novel The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Glbert)

"Alma came to the first boulder in the outcropping.  As she had suspected and hoped, it was blanketed in moss.  Alma knelt in the tall grass and brought her face as near as she could to the stone.  And there, rising no more than an inch above the boulder, she saw a great and tiny forest.  Nothing moved within this mossy world… Alma put the magnifying glass to her eye and looked again… Now the miniature forest below her gaze sprang into majestic detail.  

She felt her breath catch. This was a stupefying kingdom.  This was the Amazon jungle as seen from the back of a harpy eagle… She rode her eye above the surprising landscape, following its paths in every direction.  Here were rich, abundant valleys of braided mermaid hair and minuscule, tangled vines…

She found another continent of moss altogether… Here, the moss grew in mountain ranges the length of Alma’s arms, in elegant, pine tree-shaped clusters of darker, more somber green.  On another quadrant of the same boulder still, she found patches of infinitesimally small deserts, inhabited by some kind of dry, flaking moss that had the appearance of cactus.

Then Alma lifted her face and saw what was before her— dozens more such boulders, each one similarly carpeted, each one subtly different.  This was the entire world.  This was bigger than a world…. These were ancient unexplored galaxies, rolling forth right in front of her…”

*******************************************************************************************

Ann says:  Elizabeth Gilbert took the words out of my mouth. Biology consists of worlds nested within other worlds.

The plants that so fascinate the protagonist of this novel are the bryophytes (which include mosses) and lichens.  Mosses are direct descendants of algae, the first living plants.

The Signature of All Things copyright 2013 by Elizabeth Gilbert.  Pages 161-162 in Kindle version.

Note that paragraph breaks and title of this post are mine.

Images, from top left:  1. Moss sporophytes by artwallpaperhi.com  2. Clover in common haircap moss by ephotozine.com  3. Lichens and pine needles by arcadiacreations.com  4.   5. Closeup of rainforest floor, Tasmania by Luke O’Brien  6. Polytrichum juniperinum (juniper polytrichum moss) by 123rf.com  7. Dicranella moss by 10wallpaper.com Moss growing at the base of a flowering plant by slrphotographyguide.com  8Mix of reindeer lichen, Cladonia and various mosses on the Arctic tundra  by Robert Berdan  9. Ant drinking from pool in moss by pointofviewcameras.com  10.A close-up view of dendritic (branching) moss by f/4 on Flickr