Saturday, December 24, 2011


Jungle Moss

becomes grass for the belen (Nativity Scene)

A lumut-covered belen
from roof to floor

Lumut thrives on limestone rock, and the north of Guam is made up of limestone.  The south is volcanic, so there is less lumut to be found there.  One of the best places up north to get lumut is Urunao.  But the land there is generally either private property or military reserve, so be careful.

is in the northwest of the island

My Uncle Vic talks about lumut.  He has land up in Urunao.


One woman's story

"A week before December 8, my husband and I would pick moss at our land in Urunao.  I have always enjoyed picking moss especially during the early 60s.  Upon entering the jungles of Urunao, I would hear different birds chirping and then see a tottot, or a kingfisher; or smell the scent of a bat, hanging.  It was just something!  My greatest joy were the chichirikas.  These were small, colorful birds which tended to fly close to the ground.  They flew in front of me or beside me, making their beautiful sounds.  There were times when I tried to touch them, but they flew right away.  I surely miss these beautiful creatures.

Picking moss is really complicated as sometimes we found the moss to be too dry, too thin or most recently picked earlier by others.  Because of this we had to go deeper into the jungle, beyond the cliff, down the rugged and sometimes slippery slopes.  Mosquitoes were buzzing all around and biting us oftentimes, despite applying mosquito repellant.

By the time we finished and were out of the jungle, we were tired, thirsty and hungry.  Our perspiring bodies were sweltering from the heat.  Our clothes and hair were soaking wet.  It was a lot of hard work, but then, we were always very happy and thankful to Niño Jesus for the many bags we filled with thick, long and green moss." (By Naty Calvo, Agaña Heights)

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