Friday, March 26, 2010

Spring Is Sprung







Forsythia and Bradford pears, daffodils and wood violets -- all abloom as we make our way north from the Okefenokee Swamp where we spent a weekend, the warmest in many southern weeks. Now in North Carolina for a few days with our family, we look back on that idyllic weekend in the great wetlands of Georgia, remembering our kayak outing on Billy's Lake (lower photo) and walks on the boardwalk through the swamp where I took the upper photo of Red Blanket Lichen (an endemic species) and Old Man's Beard (an epiphyte aka "air plant") growing on a smooth-barked Dahoon Holly Tree.


Like the Everglades, the Okefenokee is to me a sacred place, and both are mercifully preserved thanks to the National Park Service in the case of the 'Glades and the National Wildlife Refuge System in the case of the Oke'. Both places have been muses to me over the years.

So as we turn our eyes toward the warming sun and bask in its rays, enjoying the blossoming of trees and flowers, I'll leave you with this poem about the Okefenokee, written several years ago and still applicable.

Happy spring...and see you from the home front where we are due to arrive on April 3.


***


The Epiphyte on Plato’s Trees


by Karla Linn Merrifield


What it is to capture
the imagination
of a poet to go with her
into longleaf pine flatwoods
or follow her into the heart
of the Okefenokee Swamp
to be in southern Georgia
beneath its maritime
or its vast half-land inland
island canopy to be held
in its sway:

chiggers snagged in a swag
of Spanish moss itself
caught in the snarl
of live oak on twisted limb

saw palmettos netted
in thorny catbriers climbing

partly on terra firma
partly in tannic water
a black gum, a tupolo
in a coppice
in the understory
in the hardened grasp of
a strangling vine

it is a great entanglement
this forest of words
that has arisen with
some million gripping tendrils
a composition in green
profligate enchantment
where you are meant to be
one standing still

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