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  • Writer's pictureRachael Prime

Moss Zine - No.1

Moss has become a constant companion for Rachael Prime and her artwork. Always looking for the narrative within her work, Rachael has created her first Moss Zine exploring the written word and visual images of one of her local green spaces. All from the point of few of the smallest plants. Moss.

Wording also available below images for easier reading.

The day’s calm was almost infectious. It had been creeping into a beautiful day so gently that I almost missed it. Walking towards the hill everything was so still, the breeze was almost undetectable whispering at the leaves and the last of the summer flowers around me.

The Saturday traffic flashed past me on Greenway Road I wondered, not for the first time, where they might be going. Are they also going for a stroll, would they stop to look at the small worlds around their feet too?

I love the sandstone around the hill, the deep red of the stone performs as the low level backing singer, providing a stage for the headline plants to perform from. It also lines the neat gardens and walls of homes around the hill. I smile while I imagine the original workers from the quarry using the leftover stone from their work, improving their houses by bringing one stone home at a time. Knowing none of which is probably true.

It’s the sandstone itself that houses the first moss that catches my eye, it has made its home within the grass bank on top of a wall. Peeking out from underneath the grass above it, almost like an umbrella in a spring shower, the soft silvery tips are a sharp contrast the red of the wall.

From afar the moss looks like spongy mat living atop of the stone wall, creating wonderful colour and texture while protecting the stone underneath. The miniature leaves and branches are plump from the last rainfall, I wish I was small enough to lay down on top of the wall and curl up among the soft green bedding.

Taking a closer look with my camera I can see the branches of this moss are longer than some others, with multiple leaves for one branch ending with the soft wispy tips, almost like hairs. I see evidence of other creatures, tiny strands of a spider web span across the tops of the moss, creating the most delicate of bridges to the creatures that call this plant home.

It’s only when a car is unlocked behind me I realise I haven’t even made it through the carpark of the hill. Smiling at the family who was a little surprised to see a woman taking very close pictures of what appeared to be nothing, I made my way further into the forest area.

Laughing slightly to myself I walked past a family arguing over what Saturday takeaway to have, the little boy hanging upside down from the tree won with a confident “chippy tea.” I try not to be too jealous of his choice.

Initially taking the obvious paths into the forest I veer off into the undergrowth looking for the more shaded spots that are loved but most mosses. I nearly head-butt a beautiful mushroom growing just at head height, the urge to take a huge bite out of it is almost overwhelming. Only the voice of reason in the back of my head stops me but even now I wonder at what it would have tasted like.

The Mushroom helped me notice the wonderful expanse of carpet at the base of the tree. It was made up of the deep green moss, while one type covered the most area I could see others marking out their own territories around themselves. Thinner than the previous moss is wonderfully lit by the setting sun highlighting its beautiful structure. The thinner branches almost look like they are reaching higher to climb the tree further as well as looking for the last of sunlight and the first dew drops.

Kneeling down, I began to take photos of the leaves, the setting sun acted as the perfect wingman, making even more oddly framed photographs look good. Accidently I managed to capture a tiny mosquito sunning himself on the end of a moss branch. He glistens in the last of the light showing the tiny structure of the wings before flying off to find its evening meal. It would turn out later it was most likely me.

Brushing off the dried mud from my knees I realise I didn’t have much time left with the light fading around me. This would most likely be one of the last of the summer evenings before autumn really took hold. I look forward to autumn but I really do love these cooler mid-September days.

Walking back towards the main path I jump over a fallen log and land the other side feet first into another beautiful carpet of moss. Excited, I recognised this particular species as Catherine’s Moss. This moss makes me really believe there are hundreds of little worlds we could explore if only we were the size of the mosquito I saw earlier.

Its leaves are long and deep green all emanating from a single point, mirroring that of huge palm trees. In fact take away perspective in a photograph you could mistake them for just that, all you would need is a handful of sand and a puddle. Again they aren’t the only moss living behind the fallen log. I recognise the same thinner moss from the mushroom tree, I wonder if this moss grew from the one higher up imagining the microscopic spores floating down on a breeze, most missing their target but one finding a new home to grow upon.

I looked up for the first time through my small excursion and caught the end of today’s blue sky, the clouds were so high and tinted pink by the setting sun. The gentle breeze had all but stopped now, the rustling of the leaves now silent and the birds high in the trees calling their mate to come home to roost. It felt as if the world was telling me it was time to go home and who was I to argue.

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