January Weekend
2005 Short Story

Wild Hog Mystery
January in the Big Cypress Swamp is a time of receding water and a dormancy of growth. The days of approaching cold fronts are grey and dreary. The skies look full of rain, but little is to fall. The waters in the swamp have receded and the cypress domes are revealed for exploration.
This revelation provides a look into happenings that remain a mystery. A hog jaw, lying with no other bones in sight. Where and how did this hog meet its end. Was it a hunters shot in November or a panthers attack in October? Is it a disease, taking the Wild Hogs? Only a jaw of a hog remains to bring a story to wonder.
What carried this jaw away from the rest of the bones and where are they? This mystery remains, to never be solved. Not a big mystery in itself, but added to the fact that almost all the wild hogs have disappeared in the Big Cypress Swamp, its a mystery that should be solved. The success of the panther program will be short lived, if one of their main food sources is gone. This meager land will not support the number of panthers that exist now, with a food source gone.

  Swamps revolation
Swamps Revolation

Another mystery remains, Why is this going un-noticed? The National Park Service seems unaware of the demise of the wild hogs. The Florida Fish and Wild Life Commission? Nope! seems to be no interest from them,. in where the wild hogs have gone. Audubon Society,  Florida Biodiversity, Sierra Club, Greenpeace, all the interveners that claim to be interested in protecting the Florida Panther, where are they? Maybe when a hungry panther starts stalking people, they will notice. Hummmmm........ is that already happening? Loop Road? Ochopee? Makes a person wonder!

Squirrels Eye View of Cypress Tree
Squirrel's view of Cypress Tree and grey sky

January in the Big Cypress Swamp
The Big Cypress Swamp is a land of subtle beauty and the unexpected. Who would expect a pine tree to grow on top of a cypress knee. The knee lifting it from the standing water in the wet season. Allowing it to survive until the waters recede. How much future does this pine tree have? Growing on the top of a knee that will not grow as fast as the tree.
Cypress knees are unique as can be. The grow in many shapes and sizes. Just a knee, not a tree, supposedly growing as a off shoot from a nearby tree. But, it defies being able to tell which tree, supports the knee. They rise from the ground with no hint as to why. Not a hint as to which tree gives them support from nearby.

Cypress Knee
Cypress Knees come in all shapes and sizes


Pine Tree growing on Cypress Knee
Young Pine Tree growing on a Cypress Knee


The January Ghosts of Buckskin Prairie

Like sentinels standing on the edge of buckskin prairie, The cypress ghosts display muted shades of grey. They change shades of grey as time passes, one minute dark grey, the next almost whitish grey. The ghosts reveal themselves to those that watch and notice the subtleties of the swamp. Standing guard between the grasses of the prairie and the pine trees, they look like a divider, halting the march of the pine into the prairie. The knowledgeable know that the true divider is the elevation of the ground and the amount of  time the water stands above ground. The water stands too long for the pine to grow and too deep for the grasses to grow, its the cypress that survive this location. The grey ghosts of January.

Ghosts of Buckskin Prairie
Ghosts of Buckskin Prairie


Ghosts of Buckskin Prairie
Ghosts of Buckskin Prairie - Changing to Whitish Grey

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Story by Steve - January 2005