I come here sometimes just to be in the presence of such ancient beings. The sides of the boulder are festooned with Umbilicaria americana in raggedy ruffles of brown and green, the most magnificent of northeastern lichens…. Rock tripe, oak leaf lichen, navel lichen. I’m told that Umbilicaria is known in Asia by another name: the ear of the stone. In this almost silent place I imagine them listening. To the wind, to a hermit thrush, to thunder. To our wildly growing hunger. Ear of stone, will you hear our anguish when we understand what we have done? The harsh post-glacial world in which you began may well become our own unless we listen to the wisdom carried in the mutualistic marriage of your bodies. Redemption lives in knowing that you might also hear our hymns of joy when we too marry ourselves to the earth.
Robin Wall Kimmerer
“Umbilicaria: The Belly Button of the World” in Braiding Sweetgrass