More About the Everglades

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During the brief acquaintance I made with the Everglades in the past few years, I have grown progressively more in love and more incensed at the senseless rapine and uncontrolled growth that threatens this beautiful land. The problem is that the same conservationists who argue for the life of the Everglades also spend their time agitating about the preservation of the environment of the west Houston snail-darter found in a single ditch near an outhouse next to a downtown historical monument.

The excesses of the conservationists aside, the Everglades is a remarkable, indeed a unique environment and uniquely merits much of the rhetoric that has been lavished on it in its defense.

The beauty of this marvelous landscape stems, in part, from the great diversity of ecotomes which dot the national park. While not part of the Everglades National Park, the strands and forests of the Big Cypress show another face of the Everglades--that bayou like deep-green darkness that one associates with much of the coastlands of Louisiana. Large stands of cypress "knee-deep" in black water are homes to ghost orchids, alligators, wading birds, turtles, black bears, and the rare (but I understand slowly recovering) Florida panther. These are not landscapes comfortable or welcoming to human visitors. In the wet season the air is so thick with mosquitoes it is difficult to breathe. The windless heat and humidity can be stifling.

And yet, for those who endure these minor hardships for a glimpse of this majesty, part of the great mystery of God's creation is laid bare--not explained, not simplified, not subdued, but simply laid bare. One becomes more aware of the "two books" that God has written in the complexities of these majestic ecosystems. Imagine, for a moment, trees with a complex system of pneumatophores that make possible life in standing water.

On this brief trip I was made aware of yet more of the beauty. The mangroves were not something that had entered my mind as an integral part of these anastomosing and intermeshing systems of interdependent ecosystems. And yet are the natural consequence of one simple factor--the flow of water.

More later as I unravel my words.

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What wonderful insights. Someday I hope to see the beauty that is the Everglades.



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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on January 6, 2007 8:35 PM.

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