Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Swamp Beauty

As a boat is guided down the swamp canal, alligators lay absolutely still in the natural sun dial shadows. No life seem to exist, not even mother earth passes her breath across foreheads, bringing relief. Spanish moss simply hang like framing tendrils around the beauty of its bald cypress southern bells. Their giant hoop skirts gaining momentum as they reached down into mirrored existence. No birds, water moccasins, yellow flies, not even a mosquito move as the canoe slowly makes its way down to an opening, were turning the corner; it seemed as if a whole other world began where the quiet afternoon in the sun ended.

A loud spring chorus began- a chirp, then a cluck, a ribbit, and all of a sudden loud awkward croaking and grunting. Small peeps and whistles chimed in; it was a monstrous love nest of frogs in the bog. Lily pads spread out like a beautiful quilt, as mounds of reeds and pitcher bulb stood out like loose threads in a greater design. Flowers opened up as if showing off for the camera lens. In the distance elegant egrets graced the backdrop of peat clusters as a great blue heron took to the sky. One might be tempted to reach down into the water and feel its coolness on this unusual hot afternoon, but beware!

The small peanut size cricket frogs may look harmless, but they have their way of luring hands into murky danger. An afternoon snack for the submerged snapping creatures of this picturesque landscape. Okefenokee Swamp, The Land of the Trembling Earth taught its first native inhabitants to leave such inviting beauty to its own. Sitting back in the boat, soaking in such intense scenery- a world that only exist in southern Georgia, where water and creatures beyond belief covered the land, and a people still live trapped in time.

© Elizabeth Akin Dillion-Stelling, 2010

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