nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

‘niche’ on a rock

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In July, we went to the Saint Martins area  for the day and spent some time exploring the caves and beach-combing.  We  also took the short drive to the lighthouse at Quaco Head.  The lighthouse is perched on the cliff overlooking Quaco Bay. 

the Quaco Head Lighthouse ....... “The present Quaco Head Lighthouse was constructed in 1966 and consists of a square tower rising from one corner of a concrete fog signal building. The light in its lantern room produces a white flash every ten seconds, while the fog signal emits a three-second blast every thirty seconds, when needed.” from http://www.lighthousefriends.com/

If you look out over the Bay, you can see some exposed rocks where sea birds make their home, and,  to the north-east, Martin Head, about 30 kilometers away.

the view to the north-east ...... Martin Head is on the horizon, to the left

Wildflowers were everywhere, but what caught my eye was a lichen on a flat rock at the base of the lighthouse.  It was bright orange, like a splash of paint. 

There are two orange lichens that live on rocks in the coastal area of New Brunswick, Xanthoria and Caloplaca.  The orange lichen I found at Quaco Head is likely one of two species: Xanthoria sorediata (Vain.) Poelt or Xanthoria elegans (Link) Th. Fr.

bright orange Xanthoria lichen on a rock .... there are also two or more other species of lichen present

A lichen is not a plant, but a composite organism, consisting of an algae and a fungus, living together in a symbiotic, mutually beneficial, relationship.

 

Ringing

                       Swallow Tail Lighthouse, Grand Manan

 

air saltfresh and balsam

walls lapped by a juniper sea

pale mimic of the salt sea

battering its foundations

                      its endurance

                      a mystery

until I found

an iron ring

anchored deep

in rock

almost lost

in lichen

                  Xanthoria orange

lifted and dropped

run round

its axis

                  clashing on stone

                  creak and clank of the metal door

                  echoes climbing the welded stair

                  ground glass grit of the light 

                  fog washed clang of the channel bell

rock lashed to the lighthouse

salt breakers turned to stone

 

Published as: ‘Ringing’, Spring 1995, The Cormorant XI (2)

(revised)

© Jane Tims

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