As I drew this morning in my sketchbook, this is what I saw with our Devonian rock, carefully selected and placed by a master gardener,
Underneath the lichens is the rock itself, heavily striated. The surface is nearly uniformly smooth; hostile to new life. The edges, roughed out but still showing the striations of it's early development. How many years do those lines represent? Impossibly older than I will ever be.
I am in the presence of a thing that has outlasted me, and will endure well beyond my spark.
The framing plants are tightly pruned, their winter twigs forming dense globes on either side of the granit. All things are for a reason in a Japanese garden, so I wonder.
The rock was in charcoal, but I could not dismiss it's dressings, so out came pastels and chalk for the orange and green, and finally white acrylic for the brightest lichens.