Thursday, August 30, 2007

Before the drought

I can't remember the last time I used my camera in southeast Missouri. The dry conditions have left the woods a shriveled wreck and any traces of a swamp, a desolate wasteland. I haven't heard frogs in months (though have seen 3 too many dead in my yard), hardly anything is blooming now and all of the tall, charismatic sedges look like unpoetic dead grass. So, I culled a few pictures taken during May and June to remember how lovely Missouri can be under the right conditions.
In some vague order: My fondness for clean water at Pickle Springs, Krigia biflora at Crowley's Ridge (this is the only one that turned out. It was actually raining that day and the light was terrible. No rain at Crowley's Ridge since June 28th), a couple of pictures from my little patch of prairie plants, a 3-toed box turtle hatchling, the high mesic woodlands, thick with sedges, and finally, the appropriately named Big Spring in Van Buren. On average, 115 million gallons of water rush out of the limestone/dolomite cliffs everyday at Big Spring to feed the Current River. Last time we were there, flow averaged 80 million gallons a day. The Civilian Conservation Corps developed the Big Spring area, building charming cabins and lodges that are available for rent (they welcome pets!). The CCC rerouted the Current River so that boaters wouldn't pass the spring as they float down the river. The CCC must have had the foresight to know that drunk kids from St. Louis have a particular knack of ruining Missouri's natural wonders. So, they moved the river as a precaution.

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