Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The Swamp - It's A Southern Thing

There is one place in the south I've never been. Not in the 20 some years I've lived here, and it's not hard (if you know me) to understand that I may never visit there, and I'm ok with that. 

The Swamp.

Just saying the words will conjure up images of green sludgy monsters or alligator hunters with accents so heavy you can barely understand them. The swamps of the southern US are as vast as they are amazing. Yes, amazing.  Think of this for a minute.  Let's start with the Okefenokee Swamp. Covering 700 square miles of South Georgia and North Florida, lies a huge bowl-shaped depression in which the Okefenokee Swamp developed. About 25 miles across and 40 miles long, this is a unique 1,000 sq mile area of primitive wetland, hosting hundreds of species of wildlife. 

But, even bigger is the Atchafalaya Basin.  Only about 20 miles wide but over 150 miles in length, the swamp covers a mind boggling 2200 square miles.  The Atchafalaya Basin, or Atchafalaya Swamp, is the largest wetland and swamp in the United States. Located in south central Louisiana, it is a combination of wetlands and river delta area where the Atchafalaya River and the Gulf of Mexico converge.  

Perhaps the part that amazes me about these wet areas is that people actually live in the swamp. Yep, and it takes a special breed.  They erect houses on the water and, travel up and down the water-ways the way we traverse asphalt and of course, make a living on (and maybe even IN) the swamp.  

Being a good southerner, you'd think I'd be anxious to head on into the swamp and get me some of them 'gatuz' during 'gatuh seezun.'  The problem is the media. No, wait, the problem is that the media has educated us properly and shown us all the dangerous snakes, poisonous spiders and aggressive aforementioned 'gatuz' that prowl the waters of the swamp looking for innocent Nashville Blog Writers to eat.  The Atchafalaya  is even home to the Lousiana Black Bear which, although on the United States Fish and Wildlife Service threatened list, can still eat a Good-Ol-Boy Wanna be like me without a second thought. 

No, you will not find me in the swamp.  I am amazed at the people who live there, and even more amazed to watch them catch fish and 'gatuz' but I will not be traveling there for a visit.  No post cards, no selfies, no way Jose Billy Bob!  I have enough trouble with the arachnids in my crawl space without traveling there just to tangle with some over-sized swamp spider bent on my destruction. 

Perhaps that's why those shows on cable are so popular.  We all are amazed at these incredible people who live in the swamp, but the closest we want to get is punching the button on the remote control.  It's probably what's going on in my house. And, again, I'm ok with that.  

Suddenly, I'm in the mood to spray for spiders...and maybe snakes and gaters too...

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