May Weekend
Short Story

May in the Big Cypress Swamp is a time of full growth. The Cypress trees are filling out. Most of the trees and shrubs are full and thick with leaves. The May rains some years have started, but this year they have not. Its still dry and even the ponds are starting to dry up. This causes the alligators to wander trying to find water. They have a sense about where the water is and the ground is covered with tracks and tail drags as the gators move to the remaining water.
In my April Story, I told about the Backyard Gator that lives at our camp. So while passing the NPS Calusa camp, just a month later,  I was not surprised to see an Alligator in their front yard. This gator was a sad looking guy, covered in dry mud, gathered as it went pond to pond looking for water. It also had the misfortune of being blind in its left eye. What a tough life it must be, to be a one eyed gator, living in the dried up swamps of the Big Cypress.
Respecting the natural laws of survival of the fittest, we left the one eyed gator to live its life, no matter how short that might be.

  Gator at NPS Calusa Camp
One Eyed Alligator at NPS Calusa Camp

One Eyed Alligator
I'm a one eyed alligator, life in a cypress swamp is tough for me
My surroundings used to be big and wide, but now it is just half that I can see
I used to be, big and bold, all others used to flee
Of how I lost my eye, I have no memory

My days I spend in hunger, especially when it is as dry it as can be
My days of stealth and vigorous life, are far from memory
I wander now in search, for only a meal can keep me free
I'm a one eyed alligator, that's the life that's left for me



May in the Big Cypress Swamp

The Big Cypress Swamp is a land of subtle beauty. From a wild orchid growing on the stump of an old cypress tree, to the willows and cypress trees growing in a flag pond. Not majestic beauty, that can be viewed from afar, like you see in the Rocky Mountains, or Alaska. Examined up close, those places are just on even keel with the Big Cypress Swamp. Only the experienced visitor knows where to find this beauty in the land of the Big Cypress Swamp.

The Big Cypress Swamp is lush and green in the month of May. Mosquitoes and Horse Flys are abundant and willing to share the view with you, as long as you don't mind being a little snack for them.

Cypress in Pond month of may
Cypress in Flag Pond


Willows in Pond Month of May
Willow in Flag Pond


Jack of All Trades

Camp owners are very unique people of this world. Like the early settlers of this county, the camp owners of the Big Cypress Swamp have to be capable of doing everything you might imagine to build, own and maintain a camp. While the city folk, would just call a plumber or electrician, when they need something done around the house, we haven't found any working plumbers or electricians, willing to venture into the swamp. So every camp owner is their own Mechanic, Engineer, Architect, Carpenter, Electrician, Plumber, Lawn Service, Cook, Delivery Service, Housekeeper and the list goes on and on.
As I mentioned in earlier stories, Jason and Matt are the new owners of Camp Kanawha. They are just in the beginning of getting their camp in shape. This weekend trip they constructed a new water tower to provide running water. It involved designing the tower, electric for the pump, plumbing to get the water where they wanted it, carpentry to build the tower and the logistics of getting all the material to camp. It also takes good health, stamina and endurance to do all that hard work.
If I was ever stranded on a deserted island, I would want one of these guys with me!

Loaded Buggy
Jason's Buggy loaded with Supplies for Camp


Kanawha new water tower
Jason & Matt with new Water Tower at Kanawha

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Story by Steve - May 2004