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Can we be lichen?

As we remerge from another winter and two years of the pandemic, I see lichen everywhere, fairly glowing at me. Ancient life form, it has much to teach us about interconnection and dependence on each other. Lichen has survived for centuries in severe environments. It relies on two separate life forms, fungi and algae living simultaneously, mutually benefiting each other. Lichen is a partnership. It exists in the plant world without roots, stems or leaves. Yet lichen photosynthesizes through algae so it can grow and spread. My father says it can be eaten even, so it provides a food source. Lichen also absorbs pollutants. And, lichen is not afraid, not suspicious. It is beautiful, diverse and widespread. Why can't we be lichen?

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