Slime molds first came to my attention in the Big Thicket region of south east Texas. Several winters on a tree-planting crew there provided a very close-up look at the life on the ground in that fascinating region. Coastal ecosystem life meets savannah and prairie and they all mix together; the diversity of plant and animal was amazing (where it wasn’t clearcut.) Slime molds were neon colored orange and yellow. They were jelly like blobs, flat smears and tentacled, and translucent, and changed all the time. They did not look like anything else in the landscape. (In many places the napalmed, deforested land did not have much else alive on the surface.) The slime molds, sundews and a few hardy small plants were the remnants and re-colonizers of the wasted land, so they showed up well against the scorched earth. slime mold images
At the time i knew nothing about what they were, but never forgot the experience of first seeing those brilliant blobs. Recently, my friend Leslie, who is a excellent at finding interesting things in the world, brought slime molds back to my attention captive slime mold. As the video of the captive slime molds played, it seemed so clear that humans need to develop a new paradigm, a new perspective, about life.
As friends gather around a tiny lichen on a tree trunk, and wonder about its complexity, we are only starting to realize how much we not only don’t know, but are flat wrong about the world we live in. The slime molds are simple compared to lichens, yet when we look closely, and are willing to see what we are looking at, we must question our preconceptions about ‘how things are’. Slime mold should amaze us, then look at moss, and then look at lichens. Amazement becomes confusion, questioning, curiosity; awe is the inescapable, final experience.