I long to see you…

“For I long to see you, …to the end ye may be established.” Romans 1:11 As I sit roadside peering into a batch of white-blazed Long-Leaf Pines, my eyes watering and blurring from over a half-hour of anticipatory scanning, I am amazed to think that at one time, millions of Red-cockaded Woodpeckers drummed across theContinue reading “I long to see you…”

Prairies, Lakes, Islands and Hammocks

Within the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, there are several habitats contained within one “swamp” ecosystem: lakes, prairies, hammocks and island forests. With such a variety, all day paddling does not become monotonous or boring. ​The open lakes leave one out in full sun with expansive views all around; then the lakes collapse into narrow channelsContinue reading “Prairies, Lakes, Islands and Hammocks”

Little Houses on the Prairies

AN EXCERPT FROM SUWANNEE RIVER, STRANGE GREEN LAND BY CECILE HULSE MATSCHAT, 1938. “​The prairies – the swamp folk’s name for the open flooded marshes – are filled with a tropical luxuriance of water plants and resemble wide grassy meadows. They are dotted with wooded islets, commonly called ‘houses’ because they have enough dry land to furnishContinue reading “Little Houses on the Prairies”

Birthplace of the Suwannee

AN EXCERPT FROM SUWANNEE RIVER, STRANGE GREEN LAND BY CECILE HULSE MATSCHAT, 1938. ​“The birthplace of the Suwannee is in Georgia, deep in the somber heart of the Okefenokee Swamp. Grotesque, bottle-shaped cypress trees, sixty to ninety feet in height, with wide-spreading tops, reach upward from the wine-colored water and form a canopy so dense that onlyContinue reading “Birthplace of the Suwannee”

When the Okefenokee Swamp Burns

Hot summers… extended periods of drought… plenty of exposed organic peat material… and a random but well-placed lightning strike; all these ingredients cook up to make large fires. South Georgia, and especially the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, face this imminent threat every year. Often, hundreds upon hundreds of square miles burn for several days atContinue reading “When the Okefenokee Swamp Burns”

Navigating The Narrows

A passage from my Okefenokee nature journal dated March 5, 2017: Sunday, 9:37 AM – By advantage of the trolling motor, we quickly traveled to the western end of Billy’s Lake. As the lake tapered, the trees and shrubs on the shore greatly increased. We soon passed a sign pointing toward “The Narrows/The Sill.” EvenContinue reading “Navigating The Narrows”

Where the Wandering Seminole Lives

Excerpt from Travels by William Bartram, published in 1791: “HOW happily situated is this retired spot of earth! What an elisium it is! where the wandering Siminole, the naked red warrior, roams at large, and after the vigorous chase retires from the scorching heat of the meridian sun. Here he reclines, and reposes under the odoriferous shadesContinue reading “Where the Wandering Seminole Lives”

Weird Hobgoblin World

AN EXCERPT FROM SUWANNEE RIVER, STRANGE GREEN LAND BY CECILE HULSE MATSCHAT, 1938.  “In the weird, hobgoblin world of the bays there is perpetual twilight. Even at midday, with a brilliant sun overhead, only an occasional ray pierces the thick green roof of the jungle, spotting the brown water with flecks of gold and lightening the blueContinue reading “Weird Hobgoblin World”

Up the Suwannee Middle Fork

An excerpt from my March 2015 Okefenokee nature journal: Thursday, 9:12 AM – The number of large basking gators quickly dwindled as we paddled up the narrower channel toward Minnie’s lake. Large lily pads crowded in toward the canoe on either side; Spanish moss hung overhead. After about a mile we came to the coveContinue reading “Up the Suwannee Middle Fork”

William Bartram’s Cypress

Excerpt from William Bartram’s Travels, published in 1791: “THE Cypress stands in the first order of North American trees. Its majestic stature is surprising, and on approaching them, we are struck with a kind of awe, at beholding the stateliness of the trunk, lifting its cumbrous top towards the skies, and casting a wide shade uponContinue reading “William Bartram’s Cypress”