Tuesday, December 18, 2012


We don't grow Douglas firs or build snow men, but in the islands we do have lumut!

Which means we can build awesome belens, or nativity scenes, which I would suggest have more to do with Christmas than reindeer and the North Pole.

Lumut is a moss that grows wild in the dark, moist and rocky interior of what's left of Guam's forests.  The shade that the trees provide encourages its growth. 
A lumut-covered landscape can look charmingly other-worldy, as if elves are about to run from their jungle hiding places.

The lumut has to be carefully pulled from the coral rocks so as to tear them up in as large a piece as possible.  This way, a large piece of lumut can lie almost like a single carpet on the floor of the belen.

Twigs, leaves, insects and the like all have to be taken out of the lumut.  When stored in a plastic bag, the lumut should be folded in, with the brown underside exposed, to keep the moisture in and the lumut green.

A lumut-covered belen.  Much better, I think, than store-bought green carpets, papier-mache or fabric.

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