Nov 16, 2011

Swamp definitions: fall

Some say that fall the season doesn’t exist in the swamp.

But consider the case of its water cycle as measure up in the pines.

Can you see the dry ground
in the pines starting to expand?

At some point each autumn,

We witness the optical illusion of pine islands starting to expand.


That’s not the land rising, of course …

But rather the slow-motion plunge of the water that surrounds them on its way down. Or in other words, the start of the water cycle’s annual decline, i.e., fall has begun! An inch drop is barely noticeable in the center of a cypress dome – up over the boots is up over the boots – but up in the pines it’s the difference between a shallow splash and a spongy squoosh of dry land ready to emerge.

Green pine islands mark the high ground of the swamp.
Grey-brown "rolling hills" are cypress domes
where water is deepest and stays longest.
Then there’s the curious case of the cypress.

They are still standing, yes, and as alive as could be, but because their needles have dropped and their branches exposed as grey, i.e. all their needles have fallen, it gives the optical illusion that the trees are dead.


But there’s a catch, too:

Waters fall too slow to actually observe in the moment and cypress needles apparently fall to the ground when there is nobody there to see.

How long and how deep?
The center of this cypress dome
was up over my knee.

Photos from November 2011
It’s not a traditional fall to be sure …

But hydrologically speaking, that’s how autumn in the swamp got its name.

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