Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Lost in the Flood

NOW that the summer heat is gone, it was time to go back to "our swamp" and see what it looked like. (The humidity and many many spider webs make this an unappealing walk with two little children in the summer.)

We were not prepared for the changes that had taken place since we were last there in May or so. The recent flooding had completely washed out the overgrown path, bathed whole areas in sand and cast branches and other debris into giant beaver dams in random places. We first talked about coming back at the weekend with Papa and some tools to try to restore the path, but then I realised this might be too grand a project for one little family. In the time we were there, we were on a vague path perhaps ten percent of the time. The rest of the time we were hacking through undergrowth, wishing for a machete and hoping we were going in the right general direction. It is a quite surreal feeling to be somewhere you know really well but not recognise anything, not to mention the feeling of awe at the power of water.

There was a silver lining in the cloud of foliage: in an area usually undisturbed by humans, a box turtle sat beneath a tree. Box turtles are the original omnivore: they eat almost any insect, virtually any fruit or berry, mushrooms, a variety of vegetable matter, and even carrion. They must be doing something right, as this diet keeps them alive and kicking on average 25-30 years.

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