Ralph and I went for a walk around the south half of our property yesterday evening. Although we've been back from the beach for three days, this was our first chance to survey post-Irma effects in the lake and low-lying acreage.
|During normal periods, this area is a meadow abutting a marsh.
Prior to Hurricane Irma the line of 6-year-old slash pines stood on dry ground.
Now the trees are standing in the middle of a shallow pond.
|Same area photographed during a dry period in 2012
Look closely to see the line of slash pines just beginning to grow along the rim of the bog
|Although slash pines can tolerate standing water for short periods,
they'll die if it takes months for water to recede
Our Groveland homestead is fairly evenly divided between high and low ground. During normal periods, about half of our acreage is either wetland or lake. The remainder is fertile upland in forest, fields and gardens. But that proportion changes dramatically during times of extreme weather.
Hurricane Irma definitely counted as extreme weather.
|The beach in November 2010 during a period of normal water levels
|Our beach post-Irma - less than half its normal size
For several months prior to the storm, we’d experienced a prolonged period of drought that exposed low-lying sections of the lake-bed. My morning rows in Hour Lake didn't take as long because the lake had shrunk. Land that used to be underwater was no longer submerged.
|Large swaths of exposed lake-bed
|Bog buttons growing in dry, cracked lake-bed
During the first few years we lived here, I remember worrying when it rained too much or when it didn't rain enough. But now, after 25 years of lakeside living, I've come to a better understanding, a realization of sorts of the way things work. No matter what we might want or expect, landscape is never static. Water levels constantly change as do the type of plant and animal life responding to those weather-influenced fluctuations.
Now, instead of feeling anxious about things beyond my control, I do my best to simply accept. To savor the seasonal ebb and flow of the world outside my window. In high times and low times and all times in between, my goal is simple: With awe and fascination, strive to be in the moment. To accept the present as the gift - the extraordinary gift - it is.