There is an openness to the swamp in winter but with the transitions of spring gone, summer is closing in and I am forced to reorient my field of vision. The canopy comes alive. I look up to see branches heavy with resurrection ferns, bromeliads, lichen, and if you look carefully, even orchids. Nesting is ongoing. The blue gray gnatcatcher's nest made out of lichen has to be the most unique nest I have seen this year. Parent birds from wrens to hawks are feeding their fledglings. Hunger is everywhere and with the mosquitoes forming the base of the food chain, food sources begin to multiply.
Besides mosquitoes, lubbers are out as well as tree frogs, oak toads, wasps, bees and the dreaded deer fly. As I look down at the water, fish are eating mosquito larvae and birds are eating fish. A grackle swoops down to pick up a lubber and the carolina wren is picking insects off the base of the trees where they meet the water, only to serenade me later with that fantastic song of his.
The leafing out of the cypress darkens the swamp and the reflections and sparks of light become more obvious and every sound is enhanced. It feels as though I am being held in a sacred space.
The water looks dark but is clear and beckons me to look closer. As I reflect on my time here this year, I have to voice how appreciative I am for the good fellowship of volunteers, staff, interns and visitors...people open to learning and guiding others how to be a part of this unique ecosystem. What a great time I had!
Learning never ends. Rejoice and thank you all!