I ride often through this wooded reserve, exploring old roadways, hiking up hills, scouting the shoreline. Animals and animal tracks are watched and followed. The smells and temperatures change with the seasons. I am always in search of, but not always looking to find.
The swamp was simply a quiet, pretty place, as I first remember it. The water to my left was still as onyx, trickling off to the right under the roadway. I stopped to listen, and inhale the atmosphere. The emerald green moss floor under the hemlocks was sun dappled, warm, and enticing; but the swamp itself was black and cool. A jewel on the floor of a primeval forest. Tiny red lily pads lay flat on the thick water, grasses shifted, silken white with the breeze. Dragon flies darted and dipped, and the tree toads lullabied each other. Just a swamp. I was off and rolling again, hoping to see the little otter ahead, near the dam.
This sense of the swamp has stayed with me, like a vision from childhood, something I've known before knowing.
Weeks later, I travel past again, not intending to stop. The summer air is hot, heavy, and still. There are crashing sounds and the grasses are churning as deer jump in to swim across. Busy clouds of gnats stand suspended. The deer flies insist that I move along.
Fall arrives with its pungent smells and lack of mosquitoes, and I find myself back at this bog, The lily pads are large now, lime green; and the brilliant yellow and red leaves of the swamp maples stand crisp atop this black mirror. Dragon flies in their mud dance, mating in the hot sun, as the afternoon shortens and a soft breeze parts the golden grasses.
Here is my ancestral past. My genetic memory draws me to the beginning of being before consciousness. Nurtured here, in earth's womb, wet muck and a chorus of cicadas welcome life from the ooze. I've been invited here by my past, by my senses. Invited to this primordial pool to participate in my own baptism. I wish to submerge myself within this place; to taste, touch, and be as one with from where I've come. Rising from within in a conscious emergence. To see the sun glisten brown from beneath these warm velvet waters, resting in the softness of its boggy bottom. This is a beginning of new life, of conscious living. My baptism.
Soon spring will gently draw back this protective white blanket. Life on hold will resume its pace, but for now all is at a peaceful standstill. No humming insects, no green grass. Only the soft trickle of water under the roadway. A faint heartbeat of the life sleeping below.