Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Woods and Swamps and Bogs

Yesterday I went swamp stomping. It was drizzly, cold and gray as I drove to work, trying to decide whether I should tackle a huge project (rennovating a large bed) or several small tasks (collecting seeds, deadheading). When I arrived, Ed (long time friend, now my boss) asked if I wanted to go with him to scout out a nearby swamp for a high school field trip on Friday. I grabbed my waders and camera and had such a great time. I love swamps! What these pictures cannot capture is the buzz of insects, "the place that smells of sweetness and rot," the hummocks hidden by the tall vegetation that make walking difficult and falling easy, the humidity that soaks my clothes and leaves me wiping stinging sweat from my eyes and pushing back damp curly locks, and the black "sucky" ground that reminds me that there is quicksand in the area. To enjoy a swamp, you need to adopt an advertureous mindset, actively searching for the beauty.

We walked through hardwoods and then pine woods, working our way down the ravines, first to a true swamp (defined as having running water) and then into a quaking bog (which Ed demonstrated by jumping up and down which rocked me five feet away). The bog was covered with tall wildflowers. We were in search of fringed gentian, grass of parnassus and pitcher plants but it is too early for their blooms and we didn't find the right conditions. That means we must go back soon.

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