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Gathering Moss

Gathering Moss

A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses

Book - 2003 | First edition
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Living at the limits of our ordinary perception, mosses are a common but largely unnoticed element of the natural world. Gathering moss is a mix of science and personal reflection that invites readers to explore and learn from the elegantly simple lives of mosses. In this series of linked personal essays, Robin Kimmerer leads general readers and scientists alike to an understanding of how mosses live and how their lives are intertwined with the lives of countless other beings. Kimmerer explains the biology of mosses clearly and artfully, while at the same time reflecting on what these fascinating organisms have to teach us. Drawing on her experiences as a scientist, a mother, and a Native American, Kimmerer explains the stories of mosses in scientific terms as well as in the framework of indigenous ways of knowing. In her book, the natural history and cultural relationships of mosses become a powerful metaphor for ways of living in the world.
Publisher: Corvallis, OR : Oregon State University Press, [2003]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780870714993
Branch Call Number: 588.2 K571G 2003
Characteristics: viii, 168 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm


From the critics

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Apr 04, 2021

Especially after reading the other lukewarm comments, I feel I have to share my enthusiasm for this award-winning title, if I can find the words!

-a must-read for anyone who loves trees or forests or plants - I think if you enjoyed the Hidden Life of Trees you'll like this
-artfully written with evocative descriptions of beauty, awe, and wonder
-love letters to us from nature, channeled by an expert and nature-lover
-shows the uncountable complex interconnections and interdependence between the invisible-to-us life forms at microscopic physical scale, and time scales from centuries to millions of years
-is a plea for understanding and respect leading to preservation and conservation
-exposes the curiosity, inquiry, and serendipity of scientific exploration
-reveals both the joys and the messy side of working in bogs, forests, rivers...
-unlike journalistic reporting, which is necessarily second-hand, this writing by an expert with decades of hands-on experience gives authenticity, immediacy, and humanity

The book is a collection of essays, and after the first few, which introduce some fascinating basics, you could read them in many order. I found the first quarter of the book a bit dry, but it ramps up and I loved the remainder.

If you've read the author's Braiding Sweetgrass and are expecting more of the same, be prepared: it's different, in particular less focused on indigenous practices.

I put a post-it on nearly every page to capture an interesting fact or a pleasing turn of phrase, or a moving passage. I had to order a copy of the book - it's a keeper!

LPL_ShirleyB Mar 09, 2021

I'm celebrating an entrancing moment of serendipity; while enjoying listening to this book in I discovered that on April 1, 2021 Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer will be hosted by The Commons at KU. She will present "Restoration and Reciprocity: Healing Relationships with the Natural World".

ontherideau Feb 22, 2021

A book of science with human interest.

Apr 06, 2020

Poetic science is the best kind of science.

Nov 09, 2017

You need to have some appreciation of native American world views, as well as an appreciation of the scientific perspective, to take in all this book offers. (I just scanned parts of it, truthfully.) That said, Gathering Moss is a book of extraordinarily high quality. And, I recommend her TEDx talk on line (Use the closed captioning). She tells it the way she sees it.

Aug 21, 2012

Wonderful botany, ethnobotany, and ecology study of mosses by native american scientist.


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Apr 04, 2021

"I had understood Tetraphis colonies from the human perspective, as clumps in various stages of reproduction. And I had learned little by doing so. Rather than looking at the clump as an entity, I had to recognize that the clump was simply an arbitrary unit that was convenient for me, but had little meaning for the moss."

Apr 04, 2021

"What art of waiting is practiced by the mosses, crisped and baking on the summer oak? They curl inward upon themselves, as if suspended in daydreams. And if mosses dream, I suspect they dream of rain."

Apr 13, 2020

“There is an ancient conversation going on between mosses and rocks, poetry to be sure.”

Apr 06, 2020

"But the world is still unpredictable and still we survive by the grace of chance and the strength of our choices."


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