Thursday, October 25, 2007

Dry Bottom

Having missed the summer haying, I hadn't walked down through the hayfields since spring. In the Southwest drought means terrible fires; in Atlanta it means thirst. So far it has not been so serious here, but when I got down to the edge of the swamp, the ground around the ferns was too dry, and there were parts of the bog where I walked on dry, cracked mud. Could we be losing this precious swampland?

In fact, I've learned that once much of the area I've come to know as Hollow Swamp was farmland. Probably beavers started the conversion when the farmers stopped planting the fields, but the real change came when they raised the road across the bottom of the bottomlands. The land on both sides of the road is legally wetland, but downstream it is forest, upstream it is teeming bog - except now.