Uncle Cecil

Tank Green/ February 24, 2024/ Writing Walking

Photo of some common tamarisk moss on a tree stump.

Photo of some common tamarisk moss on a tree stump.

Uncle Cecil is a Mossopher, and not just any old Mossopher: he is one of the most revered members of the Ancient Academy of Mossophers. Uncle Cecil has the esteemed pleasure of introducing himself to you, and  if you look closely, you may be able to see one or two of the awards he has amassed over the years for logic, reason, and cognition.

Just in case you don’t know, moss are divided into three main sub-types: the Mossophers, the Blanketers, and the Consumers. Although you’d be hard pressed to get him to admit it, the reason Uncle Cecil has achieved such lofty heights in the annals of mossophy, is because he had the great luck of being born in a pine grove in Alice Holt Forest. Of what relevance this, I hear you enquire. Well, dear reader, it is because this particular section of Alice Holt Forest is actually the principal homeland of the Blanketers.

The Blanketers have, historically, preferred to dwell deep within pine forests as they share a deep and calm stillness of the spirit with those trees. As I am sure you are aware, trees lend their own qualities to forests: a forest peopled by yew and beech will have a different quality to one peopled by oak and holly. So you will therefore find it easy to observe the profound tranquility which arises when a few pine trees get together to form even the smallest of woodland. Why, even eating your lunch is too much commotion for those trees. Best you just sit quietly on an old stump and join in the silence. Welcome the pine trees and the Blanketers energy into your heart, and you too will soon find your racing thoughts and chaotic emotions dampened down to a calm, still peace.

It is for this reason that Uncle Cecil had gotten so good at mossophising. Growing up amidst the calm and peaceful clarity of the Blanketers and the pines had given him the freedom to really sing. And by ‘sing’, I, of course, mean to reason and perform great feats of logic and understanding. There wasn’t a thing Uncle Cecil hadn’t already thought of, understood, and resolved, despite what the Consumers sometimes said. 

I should explain that the Consumers are those mosses which have dedicated their lives to aiding fungi and bugs in returning old trees to the earth. As such, Consumers are actually the oldest type of moss there is. It is for this reason that they sometimes like to try to rile up Uncle Cecil by telling him that their ancestors have eaten things of which he was too young to have knowledge of. Uncle Cecil, however, insists that the tranquility afforded him by way of his proximity to so many Blanketers, means that his imagination had filled in every possible blank in the universe.

To be honest reader, I do not know who is right: Uncle Cecil or the Consumers. To be even more honest, I do not think it is for a human to weigh in on these matters. This is an internal dispute that, no doubt, Uncle Cecil will soon think his way to the resolution of. My point here has really been simply to introduce you to Uncle Cecil and to invite you to wander off your path and go deep into a pine forest, so that you too can meet a Mossopher of your own. Once you do, I recommend that you listen, and then settle down to have a wee think about where you sit in relation to what they say, in amongst the calmness of the forest.