Day 354 – I Have Roots

I Have Roots

Day 354

from Moths of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter

To me the Limberlost is a word with which to conjure; a spot wherein to revel. The swamp lies in north-eastern Indiana, nearly one hundred miles south of the Michigan line and ten west of the Ohio. In its day it covered a large area. When I arrived; there were miles of unbroken forest, lakes provided with boats for navigation, streams of running water, the roads around the edges corduroy, made by felling and sinking large trees in the muck. Then the Winter Swamp had all the lacy exquisite beauty of such locations when snow and frost draped, while from May until October it was practically tropical jungle. From it I have sent to scientists flowers and vines not then classified and illustrated in our botanies.

It was a piece of forethought to work unceasingly at that time, for soon commerce attacked the swamp and began its usual process of devastation. Canadian lumbermen came seeking tall straight timber for ship masts and tough heavy trees for beams. Grand Rapids followed and stripped the forest of hard wood for fine furniture, and through my experience with the lumber men “Freckles”‘ story was written. Afterward hoop and stave men and local mills took the best of the soft wood. Then a ditch, in reality a canal, was dredged across the north end through, my best territory, and that carried the water to the Wabash River until oil men could enter the swamp. From that time the wealth they drew to the surface constantly materialized in macadamized roads, cosy homes, and big farms of unsurpassed richness, suitable for growing onions, celery, sugar beets, corn and potatoes, as repeatedly has been explained in everything I have written of the place. Now, the Limberlost exists only in ragged spots and patches, but so rich was it in the beginning that there is yet a wealth of work for a lifetime remaining to me in these, and river thickets. I ask no better hunting grounds for birds, moths, and flowers. The fine roads are a convenience, and settled farms a protection, to be taken into consideration, when bewailing its dismantling.

It is quite true that “One man’s meat is another’s poison.” When poor Limber, lost and starving in the fastnesses of the swamp, gave to it a name, afterward to be on the lips of millions; to him it was deadly poison. To me it has been of unspeakable interest, unceasing work of joyous nature, and meat in full measure, with occasional sweetbreads by way of a treat.

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This photo was taken in what is left of Gene Stratton-Porter’s forest, at the shore of Sylvan Lake in Rome City, IN.  Truly a remarkable place, it is peaceful even as it sits beside a “fast” lake.

Day 210 – Instead of Just a Wishin’

Instead of Just a Wishin'

Day 210 –

Fisherfolk by Robert William Service

I like to look at fishermen
And oftentimes I wish
One would be lucky now and then
And catch a little fish.
I watch them statuesquely stand,
And at the water look;
But if they pull their float to land
It’s just to bait a hook.I ponder the psychology
That roots them in their place;
And wonder at the calm I see
In every angler’s face.
There is such patience in their eyes,
Beside the river’s brink;
And waiting for a bite or rise
I do not think they think.

Or else they are just gentle men,
Who love–they know not why,
Green grace of trees or water when
It wimples to the sky . . .
Sweet simple souls! As in vain I watch
My heart to you is kind:
Most precious prize of all you catch,
–Just Peace of Mind.

This poem about peace of mind is quite apropos at this time of year when there is very little peace.  There is little peace in the stores and shopping malls as everyone races and rages and worries over that next item on the Christmas list.  There is little peace in finances as we all try to figure out just where the money for that iPod, that XBox, that Mario Kart is going to come from or if there is still room on the credit card.  There is little peace as we sit missing loved ones far away across the  miles or faraway and not in this world any longer, knowing that we won’t see them at a time that is geared toward expectations of family togetherness.  There is little peace when we have so little time to just sit and relax and breathe.
But.  There is peace when you sit back in one of those rare quiet moments to look at the ones who are near, consider the bills that are actually paid, enjoy the warm blanket or cat on your lap, to savor the surprise of a compliment given with no expectation of reciprocity.
I spent some time at Langley Dam today, wandering around in the sunshine with my camera in my hand and my boot heels sinking into the soft muddy ground, my thoughts, and not a soul around to disturb me.  And I found my peace.