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myswamp1

“My swamp”, October, 3 2010

Some things change for the better.  Some things change for the worse.  Some things….just change.

The place I lovingly call “my swamp”, probably, fits into the last category, but I’m not ready to let go of what it once was.

When I first happened upon it in the spring of 2007, it was a vibrant place, teeming with life.  That’s not to say it isn’t now.  It’s just different.

This was my happy place, the place where I began my journey as a nature photographer.  It was a place of surprises and wildlife encounters of the too close kind (see https://thejerseyphiles.com/2015/03/12/i-didnt-know-what-to-do-so-i-shot-her/).  It was a place of mystery and learning and fun.

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A very large black bear cools off in the swamp June 18, 2011

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A northern watersnake takes a green frog October 6, 2010

From great shots made to great shots missed, it was an endless source of joy and entertainment.  Endless, that is, until August 28, 2011.  That’s the day that hurricane Irene slammed into the Garden State, bringing with her torrential rains and record flooding.

The road to the swamp had been closed because of widespread damage to the roadway and bridges, but I decided to sneak up and see how “my swamp” had fared.  This is what I found:

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August 31, 2011

The force of all the water had blown a hole in the beaver dam that had created the swamp in the first place.  I was devastated but told myself, “The beavers will rebuild.  They have the technology.  They have the capability.”

I had seen it in other places.  Why not here?  Here’s why.  This quarter mile portion of creek had a series of beaver dams, and this section had already been abandoned by the beavers.  They were happily residing farther upstream above another dam.  But I returned week after week, hoping, yet knowing.

Although I was able to see things that I would not have seen if this spot had still been underwater, my visits became less frequent.

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A mama bear & cubs October 10, 2011

Then one day I found that someone had stolen the ladder stand I had overlooking the swamp, and that took the rest of the wind out of my sails.  I’ve rarely gone since then.  As a matter of fact, yesterday was the first time I had visited this year.

It’s quite beautiful.

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Still, I don’t have a feel for it anymore.  It had a schedule and a rhythm that I could count on and that I loved.  This I don’t know.  And so I’m torn.  Is it time to become reacquainted or to just let go?

 

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