We don't have
many trees that
change color and drop their leaves, but here and there
a stand of Maples will crop up for a while.
This stand of trees
was a lovely, shady spot that was nice to pull up under
for a lunch break or just to get out of the sun for a while.
Once I had to jump in the water right there at the base
of the reddest tree (regardless of any alligators that
might live there) but that's another story.
The stand of Maples at the river cut
between Little Sawgrass and big Sawgrass lakes.
don't last very long in the marsh. They slowly rot
and become overgrown with vines that continue to choke
further life out of them. The rising and falling level
of the river washes the soil away from their roots leaving
them vulnerable to a good strong wind.
the dying trees.
roots of a Maple tree are very shallowly spread out on
the surface of thin, wet dirt. It's not even real dirt,
sometimes, just a tangled mass of roots that catch at any
nourishment the river sends it's way. That's the kind of
island this one was. When the water was down you could
get out and walk on the mound, but you could see that you
were walking on a springy kind of sponge made up of tree
and grass roots with loosly caught soil.
a storm the foliage at the top of the tree catches the
full force of the wind... the tree topples over and the
shallow roots just rip up - taking the top layer of soil
and plants with it.
tree will sometimes continue to grow for a while after
it has fallen over, but it seems like these Maple stands
need to be in a group to survive. When a group starts to
fall they all pretty much go together.
marsh continues it's consumption of the Maples. It
was a beautiful spot for a long time, but things change.
At the base of this tree was where I jumped in the river
at one time ... now it's home to Big Wally and you couldn't
get me in that water if you set my pants on fire!
<<< SideNote: We
know there is a huge 'gator who lives there now. We've
named him Big Wally. We see him frequently and he is
HUGE! The first time we spotted him Judy thought he must
be artificial - something set out by Camp
Holly to give the tourists a thrill. Then he lashed
his tail and splashed into the water right in front of
us. Gave us a thrill.
Wally is camera-shy. When I don't have the camera he just
lays out full length in the sun. When I do have the camera
somehow he always manages to get into the water before
we get there and all we can do is watch him swim away.
(This is still preferable to seeing him turn around and
come at us. My boat is 13 1/2 ft. long and he appears to
be longer. All photo chases will be discontinued
during the months of mating
is all that's left.
But, life goes on
in the marsh, and what was once a stand of Maples will
now be a home to different birds and animals than it was
before. The decomposing matter will float to other parts
of the river to nourish new plants and perhaps form new
And maybe start another
stand of Maples.