Posts Tagged ‘bogs’

You might notice the tagline of this page reads “a bog from life’s dusty crossroads.” It is no mistake, but the result of a fortuitous slip of a finger made while describing this space via email to a list of lovely women that I have the pleasure to know.

My first encounter with a bog was when Dixie Rose beckoned to me to see an interesting plant. Forever seeking the most direct route, I accidentally plunged neck-deep into a spongy, stinking mess. I recall rather vociferously proclaiming my displeasure.

Okay, so it may only have been knee-deep. I was four, Dixie, an avid naturalist, birder, photographer and writer, was about 104, with thick glasses and the kind of dusty, stacked library that would cause a bibliophile to swoon. Her husband, Ed, seemed about 110 to me, a tall man whose battle with cancer had left him with an electronic voice box. Ed was straight-out and as gracious as the petals of his last name.

Since then, I have had a predilection for mire. My last encounter spanned almost twenty years, and is currently working itself out in the form of  divorce. If there is muck in my general vicinity, I will most likely, sooner or later, find myself face down in it.

But let’s not be hasty. Bogs can be interesting places. Pretty rugged things live in bogs, things that don’t need a lot of nutrients, things that can live in acidic environments. No chaff here.

Bogs also fix, or hold, about one-quarter of the carbon outputs harbored on land – another one of those “sinks.” So that crummy stuff we don’t want to breathe, that we don’t want in our environment, is happy to find a home in a bog.

And better still, as a wetland, a bog is a process. In the proper inhospitable conditions it takes in the strange, the stinky and the scorched and, over a great deal of time, can eventually produce good stuff – nutrient rich stuff – that feeds the things we grow and makes a pretty nice fire.

Plus, you never know what you might find in a bog. Those acidic, nasty conditions can preserve things quite well. Dating from 3,000 BC, the Ceide Fields in North Mayo, Ireland, were preserved under a peat bog, a Neolithic treasure for modern man. I think bogs preserve a lot of that old stuff, maybe not always Neolithic – maybe just thirty-or-so odd years back – slowly being turned into energy, and worth uncovering from time to time – especially if you happen to find yourself face down in it.

So you see, a bog can be a special place, hence my tagline. Dixie Rose is long gone, Ed passed on before she did. Dixie could stand the muck, she found the most beautiful things in it. I do my best. Here’s to you Dixie.

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