To Love What is Muted and Marginal

“To love a swamp, however, is to love what is muted and marginal, what exists in the shadows, what shoulders its way out of mud and scurries along the damp edges of what is most commonly praised. And sometimes its invisibility is a blessing. Swamps and bogs are places of transition and wild growth, breeding grounds, experimental labs where organisms and ideas have the luxury of being out of the spotlight, where the imagination can mutate and mate, send tendrils into and out of the water.”― Barbara Hurd, Stirring the Mud: On Swamps, Bogs, & Human Imagination


A nearby bog (or possibly fen) is one of my favourite places to visit, but during winter, the parking area along the state road is not plowed out and the boardwalks are likely to be very icy in any case (here’s how to get out of one should you fall in; this is a real thing!; though often bodies found in bogs have been dispatched by other, less natural, means). So from December to March, there is no visiting of the bog. Come April, I’m ready to greet my old friend again.

Due to recent snow melt, a high water table, and some regular rains, the boardwalks were quite wet and some dipped under water and the peat moss mat with weight on them.




In one spot, the trail was actually impassable without more risk than I was willing to take.

Not a lot is in bloom or leaf yet in the bog, though the marsh marigolds (Caltha palustris) are in bud and the new larch (aka tamarack) saplings provide some yellows against the deep reds of the peat moss.

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The woods near the bog feels like a sensual emerald city with its abundant moss growing among rocks and roots.

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Still a little snow hanging on in shady spots.


It’s always fun to remind ourselves how deep the bog really is.

Really, it was just lovely to be walking this familiar bit of land, and not-land — the borderland of the wet and dry worlds — again.






Soon the pitcher plants will be blooming.



  1. Molly, Not sure if you will get my reply to your blog through email. I love the bog! Maybe we could walk it together sometime this spring?


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