Okefenokee Swamp III

To me, Okefenokee Swamp felt like a sacred place in the twilight, with Spanish moss hanging down like stalactites, and cypress knees rising up like stalagmites, like the ones often found in caves.  I grew up playing in Cedar Swamp, another mystical place, in the woods behind our house.  But this southern swamp is very different from, and much larger than, the swamps we have here in New England!

The swamp’s water is black, due to vegetation decaying in the water and leaching out tannin which stains the water in much the same way as the tannin in tea color the water in a teacup.  After the swamp exploration our skiff turned out into a marsh, where we could view the sun setting and see what wildlife might come near.

To love a swamp, however, is to love what is muted and marginal, what exists in the shadows, what shoulders its way out of mud and scurries along the damp edges of what is most commonly praised. And sometimes its invisibility is a blessing. Swamps and bogs are places of transition and wild growth, breeding grounds, experimental labs where organisms and ideas have the luxury of being out of the spotlight, where the imagination can mutate and mate, send tendrils into and out of the water.
~ Barbara Hurd
(Stirring the Mud: On Swamps, Bogs & Human Imagination)

The alligators were as quiet as could be…

One last batch of pictures from Okefenokee Swamp tomorrow!

photos by Tim Rodgers

17 thoughts on “Okefenokee Swamp III

    • I asked the guide about the alligators, and she said that they leave people alone unless provoked. She said people can even swim in the river, as long as you respected their area. But I would not chance it.

    • The alligators seemed pretty tame, Laurie. :) Secretly, I was hoping to see some teeth and was a little disappointed. The skiff had a flat bottom so I don’t think it would have tipped over easily. We decided that we wouldn’t have wanted to be in a canoe, though some people do paddle around the swamp in them, and kayaks, too.

  1. The swamp does look like a sacred place in the twilight. Like an enchanted place where fairy tales come true. The alligators were an exciting surprise. Beautiful post! Thanks. Have a blessed day.

    • Thank you, my friend! Seeing those alligators up close and in person was a thrill that I won’t soon forget… I wonder what your son would think of them? :) Our son and daughter-in-law are thinking of taking their nephews to see them. I’d love to see their faces!

    • Thank you, Jane! Real quiet dragons! They are nocturnal so perhaps they were slowly waking up at sunset and getting ready for a night of hunting. :)

  2. Marvellous trio of posts, Barbara! Thanks for guiding us into the richness of the swamps; it looks as though you had a terrific and inspiring time. On another note – it’s great to read the Barbara Hurd quotes as I’m currently reading her book Walking the Wrack Line, about the unexpected beauties of what comes ashore as she walks the coasts. Thanks for sharing…

    • Thanks, Julian! Visiting Okefenokee was an unforgettable experience and I hope to return and see more of this huge swamp in the future. “Stirring the Mud” is my first Barbara Hurd book and I’m looking forward to reading many more of her lyrical words. I’m happy you enjoyed these posts…

    • It was beautiful, gitwizard! The ‘dragons’ never moved, perhaps we all would have jumped and screamed if they had… :)

  3. The swamp does seem sacred, and mystical. I can imagine the spirits of the native Indians guarding the area and protecting those who travel by boat through the waters. It’s very beautiful. :)

    • I like to think the spirits of Native Americans are still there and are encouraged knowing that future generations have appreciated and continued to hold their spiritual place sacred… I didn’t expect it to be so awesomely beautiful there.

  4. So interesting, Barbara, with wonderful photographs as always.

    And yes…’sometimes…invisibility is a blessing.’

    • Maybe next time I go I will be the one taking pictures… This time around I was spellbound and awe-struck. It was an unforgettable experience, taking a peek into that usually invisible world…

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