Getting “bogged down” can be a real problem here in the Adirondacks… if you don’t watch where you’re putting your feet down when hiking along the trails! With more than 10,000 lakes and ponds, many formed eons ago in the movements of glaciers across the bedrock, the ecology of wetlands is serious business in the north country.
I took a hike today along an old railroad easement that traverses the Bloomingdale Bog (immediate photo above), one of this region’s important ecological features. The easement was built generations ago, a sort of levee across the very soggy acres of sphagnum moss. It’s impossible to walk into the bog…. just testing the edge with my toe revealed a quick softness, the promise of complete immersion in muck were I to step any further onto the soft green expanse. Thanks to a wet winter and recent rains, the bog appeared soggier than ever, with pools of brackish water dotting the landscape. The landscape seems barren, but closer inspection reveals a place teeming with activity — the green stuff is alive! — and more varieties of bugs than you may wish to think about if you were not resolutely bonding with nature at this particular moment!
We hardly think about places like the Bloomingdale Bog in our normal life, consumed as we are with figuring out if we can still afford gas, or what kind of new car to buy, or whether our televisions are going to work after that thing happens in February, whatever that is, and is it time for me to get cable… etc…. Yet, places on this earth like the Bloomingdale Bog and the Adirondacks and the even larger green ecosystems of the world make it possible for us to live on this planet — these places nurture and sustain the complex life systems for plants, animals, water and air that replenish the natural resources we consume too voraciously. I’m writing this blog while sitting at a bench on the banks of Tupper Lake, part of the great Raquette River watershed here (see top photo on this blog for one view), watching the sunset … and through the miracle of telecommunications science, I can actually send the blog to the Internet wirelessly. Such inventions are wonderful, true advances in civilization.
And yet…and yet… I find myself thinking about the dangers too much civilization poses to these great natural places. The loons and gulls out on the lake are dodging a powerboat that seems to be making a sport of chasing them. More new buildings are going up along lakefronts. Even the backwoods streams here show evidence of pollution.
Thank God (literally) that the bog is so squishy… it’s impossible to build on top of it! At least for now….