Edited by Dava Sobel

“In the Mojave Desert, a translucent crystal offers bryophytes much-needed respite from the heat of the sun.”
New York Times

For hypolithic mosses,
it seems,
four percent of daylight is right.
They live, the headline says,
by sheltering
under a parasol of translucent quartz.

The crystal scatters
the light’s ultraviolet,
dilutes its heat,
traps the night’s condensed moisture
to moss-sized rain.

I think of these mosses
and consider.
Perhaps we, too, are mosses,
evolving to the parch
of our self-made Mojaves.

Unable to bear the full brightness,
the full seeing.

To recognize fully the Amazon burning,
the Arctic burning,
the Monarchs’ smoke-colored missing migration.

An experiment not meant to last.

And yet we found shelter within it,
we pondered our lives and the lives of others,
thirsted, slept.

To the implausible green of existence,
for-better, for-worse,
we offered our four-percent portion of praises,

for-better, for-worse
our four-percent portion of comprehension.