Oregon grape Mahonia




"Go down to the seashore, or to one of the great chalk cliffs in England, or away out West, and take a little grain of chalk, and put it under the microscope. Go down to one of the great phosphatic deposits in Florida or the Carolinas, and put a little of that under the microscope, and you will find it made up of shells, the skeletons of animals which once lived. It is almost inconceivable that there could have been a sufficiently large number of animal skeletons to make these great masses of chalk. The animals are so small that you can not see them with the naked eye. Half a dozen of them could rest on the point of a pin, and yet they are all covered with the finest markings, as if made by an engraver's tool.  

We do not have to go away back in the ages to find evidence of this microscopic life all about us. Go to some stagnant pool, where you find the water covered with green slime, take a little speck of it, and put it under the microscope, and you will find this green scum all alive with curious little creatures swimming about. Nobody know, whether they are vegetable or animals because when you get to the dividing point between animal and vegetable, there is almost no distinction; there are swimming vegetables as well as swimming animals. The fact that the animal has power to move around does not determine whether it is an animal or a vegetable. This life is below the power of the human eye to discover; it requires a microscope to bring out these wonders of nature. The things that we tread upon are all alive, and this life is marvelous, wonderfully active in growth and development.  

In the Alps a few years ago the people woke up one morning, and saw the snow all covered with red for many square miles. Nobody knew what it was until they made a study of it, then they found that it was a microscopic vegetable that had spread over the snow. They called it red snow, but it was not snow at all, but life that had developed with marvelous rapidity. Hundreds of square miles were covered with this life." 

April 1901 N/A, GCB 492