only thing constant is change." This saying
is particularly true in the marsh. Water levels rise
and fall, trees grow and die, and islands appear and
disappear. Sometimes the changes are brought about by
storms or fires, sometimes by human intervention... and
sometimes by causes that cannot readily be seen at all.
Australian Pines at the tip of Mosquito Island have been
a familiar landmark for a very long time, but suddenly
or eight years ago we had a freeze in this area that killed
off all the Australian Pines in our locale. They eventually
regrew, as things have a way of doing, but in the last
few months we have been noticing that the pines on Mosquito
Island are dying out - with no freezes to account for it.
change in the landscape is noticeable from a distance.
As you pull
into the Mosquito Island lagoon the dead trees are stark
against the healthy greens and blues of the normal marsh colors.
make a thick carpet on the ground.
needles are very good tinder. A
stray campfire spark or a lightning strike will cause
these woods to flare up into a brief, hot fire, clearing
the way for new growth. Cabbage
Palms and the big Oak tree on the island are totally
unaffected by whatever has destroyed the Australian Pines.
new greenery on Cabbage Palms and water plants
show up brightly against the dead Australian Pines.
into the pine woods is spooky - dead branches creak
in the breeze and dry pine needles crunch thickly
Looking from Mosquito Island towards
love the contrasts on the river. The blue of the
water and sky and the green of the plants and trees look
even more vibrant when seen next to the dead brown of
seem tragic, but it's hard to feel too sad over death on
the river. When an animal dies, it feeds another animal
- even if it's only a buzzard (they need to eat too, don't
they?!). When a plant or tree dies it makes room for new
growth, sometimes it's own child, sometimes a different
the passing of what we are familiar with, but life does,
indeed, go on. Eventually we forget what "was" and
learn to appreciate and love what has grown in it's place.