Proof: Ecosystem Services Work

Earlier this month I wrote a post titled Extinction is Forever Before writing this post, I’d never heard the term Ecosystem Services and had no idea what they were. Now I do know, and have photographic proof of their efficiency, power and value.

On 3rd July I took the following image, wondering how on earth something so pretty could grow out of such horrible conditions:

before 3rd July

The water levels were perhaps their highest at this point and with the incoming water came bacteria, pollution, algae and all manner of floating detritus. The water smelled awful and you couldn’t see to the bottom of the marsh, couldn’t even see below the water’s surface.

On 25th July (barely three weeks on) the water is clean again:

after 25th July

Both shots are taken from exactly the same location, from the Camp Office look-out deck at the marsh at Presqu’ile. Nature took care of business in a spectacular manner. This isn’t like a backyard pool where shocking the water and throwing in a little extra chlorine takes care of the nasties. This is an all-natural cleanse. Pure amazingness, non?

One fifth or 20% of the world’s fresh water is here in Ontario’s lakes. Such an important natural resource comes with enormous responsibility – to protect and preserve quality and cleanliness. If you were in any doubt about the importance of slowing/halting climate change and the necessity of the adjustments mandated by the Paris Accord, I hope these photos change your mind.

’Til next time, y’all…

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For The Love Of The Irises

Iris 1

The meanings ascribed to the beautiful Iris are faith, hope, wisdom, courage, and admiration. Today, two members of our book club were married and began their new life together. This post is for them.

Iris 2

I’m calling them the Irises because they are the epitome of faith, hope wisdom and courage and I have boundless admiration for them both.

Swans

Today’s weather was so different, infinitely better than yesterday’s. The breeze is every bit as lively but the rain ended this morning, the clouds moved along, the sun is shining brilliantly and although in town it feels oppressively muggy, here by the lake the humidity is practically unnoticeable. In short, a perfect day for enjoying the pleasures of Presqu’ile.

Picnic spot

I have found another lovely picnic spot, mostly shady, right by the lake, in the eastern section of the south shore area of the park and… I’m alone! As far as the eye can see – looking in either direction – no one is picnicking except me. A couple of cars have driven by, a slew of serious cyclists have sped by but in this section of the park, I am quite alone.

Such a shame… This beautiful park is meant to be busy, active and enjoyed on such a glorious day.

“It’s true that all women of any age are discounted, older women most of all. But one of the great things about being invisible is that finally we can do anything we want, with no one watching over our shoulders. And that equates to freedom.”
[Billie Jean King]

For the next ten months at book club, we’re reading and talking about unruly women and chapter one is Serena Williams. I wanted to do some reading about other female tennis superstars and, quite by accident, I stumbled upon an essay written by the amazing Billie Jean King more than twenty years ago. It turns out Ms King is much more spiritual than I’d ever have imagined and her insights and thoughts are both entertaining and revealing.

Turning fifty. Turning sixty. Commencing Retirement. In listening to my friends, any one or all of these milestones were catalysts for change. The desire to slow down, take stock and search for clarity and meaning occurred within us all. Everyone seemed to want a lifestyle change that involved finding their personal truth and a deeper spiritual life.

“If we’re going to be discounted and not be as beautiful, well, thats our first taste of freedom, maybe for the first time in our whole lives. Go and be whatever you want to be. Get into the moment, into the now. To be scared is normal, to be not scared is stupid. But fear makes you lose the moment, putting you into some kind of nonexistent future, what might happen. If we go with the fear, instead of against it, crossing that line into action, we find an exhilarating new world.”
[Billie Jean King]

Iris 3

My Irises have undergone this self-examination which resulted in an enormous transformation. Both began adult life married to two very smart, funny and kind men. They had five children between them. Both marriages lasted 25+ years – happy years by all accounts. The children are all grown, have finished their undergrad degrees and are living outside of the familial homes. The empty nest situations allowed these two, very brave women to go with the fear instead of against it. The two marriages were dissolved in the most congenial of manners and the two women began new lives as single, lesbian women. They met at one of our book club meetings and the rest, as they say, is history.

This morning, in Peterborough, our two beautiful, courageous Irises put their faith, hope, and wisdom on show for all to see as they married and began a new life together. Not, as it turns out, the slow, safe, lifestyle of most retirees. Our Irises have purchased a camper trailer and this afternoon were set to begin their honeymoon camping at Presqu’ile. Neither of them has ever been to Presqu’ile before, has ever camped before and has ever driven a truck towing a trailer before. The past month has been a crazy-busy one for the Irises – learning to drive, turn and reverse with the trailer attached.  I know they have one of the most desirable sites for their trailer and I’m so very much hoping this beautiful weather lasts so that my friends have the best-ever first camping experience for their honeymoon.

One other thing, after their honeymoon, the intrepid duo are back home in Peterborough for a week of final preparations and then they’re leaving with their truck and trailer to drive across Canada – neither ever having done this before either. My admiration for these two gorgeous blossoms is enormous and growing.

Iris 4

‘Til next time, y’all…

 

Pam ’n Cam’s Amazing Amherst Island Adventure

For about three years now I’ve been longing to visit Amherst Island. It’s not far from our home, and it’s beautiful in the winter (hundreds of Snowy Owls make it their home) and summer (its an island – summertime paradise). Life conspired against me though so I’d never been; until today, that is.

In typical Perrault fashion, we spent our anniversary apart (it was a Senior Ryder Cup competition that day and nothing, nothing gets in the way of that). Instead, we planned a day date for today, my visit to Amherst Island.

Ferry Tag

Last night, making our final preparations, the stars seemed aligned for a perfect day out: The weather was meant to be sunny and hot with only a trace of humidity (Tom Brown, you got some s’plainin’ to do!). We’d made egg sammies (our fav), and collected applesauce, muffins and water all ready for our picnic. Tank was full of gas (the car’s not Cam’s). Camera batteries charged, lens cleaned. Clothes laid out ready. Excitement was mounting. Funny how things never work out as expected, non?

Sky

Far from the forecast 26℃, the temperature never rose above 20℃, there was a good, stiff breeze, the sky was overcast and yes, there were occasional raindrops, tho’ our spirits weren’t dampened, not one iota, not at first, anyway.

Ferry 1

This is not our first car-on-ferry experience. We’ve both travelled from the mainland to Vancouver Island and from Manitoulin to Tobermory, yet the day’s first surprise was the ferry. The cars drive onto the ferry at the side, not the end, but once onboard turn 90° to face either front or back depending upon the loader’s directions. Then, when off-loading, each car has, in turn, to back up past the side opening and then turn 90° to drive off. Who knew?

Despite this seemingly unorthodox procedure, we were quickly loaded and on our way – three nautical miles (≅3.5 land miles) across the channel between Millhaven and Amherst.

Cam 1

Second surprise was the island itself. It was much longer than I’d expected (twelve miles in all) and our first glimpse from the ferry showed it to be very agricultural.

Amherst 5

Amherst 7

After a short and very enjoyable ferry ride, we arrived at the ferry docks in the village of Stella:

Stella

In fact, Amherst Island is very agricultural; once leaving the village we were immediately into farm country – some dairy but a lot of sheep.  The sheep provided a bit of an intrigue for us; two had escaped the pasture and were huddled roadside, clearly frightened and wanting to get back with their flock. We drove to the closest farmhouse but no one was home. We went the other way to the next farmhouse with the same result. We left notes in both mail boxes and hope the sheep were rescued before they met with any harm. Sheep are surprisingly timid creatures – not at all like their cousins, the goats.

The third surprise, although we really ought to have expected this, was that the island had experienced the same trouble with flooding as the rest of Lake Ontario ’s shorelines. The park where we had planned to picnic – Lane’s End – was badly flooded and, like Presqu’ile, the mossies were thick, busy and hungry. Other low-lying areas were also quite wet and marsh-like:

Amherst 3

Amherst 2

We continued our driving tour of the island, eventually ending up back at Stella. The picnic notion was nixed – it was way too cold to sit outside today – we brought it home with us, intact.

Amherst 4

As luck would have it, when we arrived back at the ferry docks the Frontenac II was just arriving so we drove back on and began our homeward journey.

Again, the ferry ride was smooth and enjoyable – a large part of which is due to the friendly and helpful crew.

Exiting the ferry at Millhaven, we drove west along Loyalist Parkway ’til we found a nice bistro where we had a very late (but warm, dry and tasty) lunch.  Then we grabbed a quick Timmy’s (honestly, is there any better treat than a nice car ride with a cup of coffee to sip along the way???) and headed home.  Despite all the unexpected elements of our adventure, I had a lovely day.  The thing is, the only the ingredients necessary for a perfect road trip for me are a vehicle and Cam – everything else, even a destination, is unnecessary.

‘Til next time, y’all…

 

The Unruly Garden

In any book club comprised of people of a certain age, eccentricity and eclecticism are a given but the folks in the club I belong to could out-quirk all other clubs, even on our worst day. Our assorted idiosyncrasies are truly exceptional.

Not to be coy about the whole certain age thing; I turned sixty in December and I am the youngest in the club. So… We’re old! We despise the terms “older woman” and “older man”… Older than whom, exactly? Old is perfectly respectable. We own it.

Hibiscus
Hibiscus

We have a new director. I’m calling her Hibiscus because she is equally beautiful and exotic. Hibiscus is a retired physics professor, a new Canadian, a new member of our club and she immediately parachuted into the top spot – unrivalled, I might add. She abhors tradition and is planning a massive shake-up for our group.

Wish
Wish

Our outgoing director is her polar opposite; he loathes change and is so incensed over this newcomer and her changes he has quit the club. He has been growing ever more cantankerous, uncooperative with the book selection committee and censorious over comments made (in person and on-line) so I’ve heard that many are thinking if not actually saying, “good riddance”. Mr. Wish is a retired lawyer. I’m calling him Wish because, like these seeds, he’s about to blow away on the wind. I always found his dry humour amusing, he was always very kind to me and he put my blog on his platform where I have acquired an additional 500+ subscribers. I will absolutely miss Mr. Wish and I am sure – given time – the rest of the club will miss him as well.

Ginger
Ginger

We have (have always had, according to the inaugural members) a constant but unofficial director. She is bossy, demanding, opinionated, super self-confident and I’m sure the word “collaborative” is as foreign to her as Hibiscus’ native language. Ginger is a retired high school teacher, principal and superintendent. I’m calling her Ginger because she is spicy and has the same hot, sharp bite. Ginger is a driving force, she gets things done. Her words and thoughts became the basis for Hibiscus’ shake-up. She cautioned that we need a sharper focus, said that as venerables, we must use proairesis. Ginger wants our club to be more discerning; to choose the books we’ll read and the conversations we’ll have very carefully and fastidiously. Prioritize and work the plan.

The Roses

We have three retired professors of literature, all from esteemed universities – one in the UK, one in the USA and one here in Canada. They are absolutely the brain trust, they have the helm and nothing happens without their support and approval. Even though two are men, I am calling them the roses because despite their apparent beauty and perfection, their tongues are as sharp as the rose’s thorns. This trio introduced and fostered our study of the Greeks. You have a good mental image now, don’t you? I’ll bet their skin was fair crawling at the thought of what Hibiscus might introduce and recommend, but… Her initial project was met with the greatest enthusiasm I’ve ever seen these three dragons display, so, good omen?

Cosmos
Cosmos

I love flower meanings and symbolism. I use that information in the production of my cards. Although we aren’t especially close, I’m calling my favourite book club friend Cosmos. Cosmos means peacefulness, wholeness and modesty and that perfectly describes my friend. Cosmos is a nurse. She is always the one pouring oil on troubled waters. Plus she is very hard-working for us – she seems to be a life-member of the reading committee and she never fails to provide that group with astute observations, and recommendations that apply to us all, not just the Roses. Cosmos wants us to read about, talk about and celebrate trailblazing women – women who break the rules. She made a comment to the group about her idea, and except for me, the only one seemingly in favour was Hibiscus. At the following meeting, though, this happened…

The Peonies

We also have a group of self-professed a-listers; a sextet always dressed in the height of designer fashion, always with perfectly coifed hair, never without full makeup which always seems expertly applied, always with fresh and pretty manis and pedis, and adorned with elegant jewellery. Yikesabee!!! What a herculean effort this must take! I call them the Peonies – showiest flowers in the garden. I’m never accepted by this group because, well, just look at me! I’ve always been a bit neutral towards them – nought to like or dislike in my mind. But, the week after Cosmos made her suggestion, the head Peony stood up and announced she thought it was a great idea, and that our club should emphasize this study throughout the coming year. Shazam! To quote Buck, We got ourselves a ballgame folks.

Peony four then got to her feet and advocated for a specific book to use in our pursuit of extraordinary women: Too Fat, Too Slutty, Too Loud: The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman. With very little discussion, the group agreed that, in addition to our monthly book, we’d use a chapter a month from this book, to be discussed at each meeting. First up: Serena Williams. Squee!!! This is going to be a fantastic project. Thanks Peonies – this would never have happened without your endorsement!

Love-In-The-Mist
Love In The Mist

I’ll just bet you’re wondering how on earth I got into this group of rarified blossoms… I was nominated by one of my doctors at a time when I was struggling badly. She recognized the need for a distraction, for some interaction with like-minded women, she knew of my love of reading and knew I’d love belonging to this particular book club (and I do). I’m calling her Ms Love-In-The-Mist because, well, she was exactly that for me. She still is!

Poor Mr. Wish often compared leading this group to herding cats; we are, indeed, an unruly garden. The Rise and Reign of the Unruly Woman then, is perfect for us – men and women alike, and should generate some wonderful discussions. I can’t wait.

Daisy

To eclaircise, I’m the Daisy in this crowd – plain, common and uncomplicated.

‘Til next time, y’all…

 

Shinrin Yoku

At various times, and with various degrees of candour I have written about my health issues of the past few years. Fact is, I have mesothelioma in the pleura (wall of the lung) and a tumour inside the lung. These two masses may or may not be related to each other. They created a slew of clots in both lungs which, for a time, made breathing nigh-on impossible, painful, tiring and worst, frightening so Mr. Bell’s quote resonates with me. The time since my diagnosis has been all about strengthening my lesser airways and adapting to my diminished lung capacity. I think I’ve done pretty well with this enterprise and now I’m mostly unrestricted in my lifestyle. I am truly grateful and I am working hard to make the most of every minute of every day.

I’m explaining this so you’ll understand the necessity of having many doctors’ appointments (too many – both doctors and appointments), mostly in Peterborough, ON. Although most result in good or at least satisfactory news, not all appointments are positive. After those, I typically go for a walk in the woods to assimilate, accept and mentally prepare for the next steps and for sharing my news with Cam, my family and friends. A leisurely wander along a trail, absorbing the sounds (mostly birds, most frequently Jays and Woodpeckers), the smells – especially cedar, and the beauty of nature is always therapeutic for me. Meditation is always involved. These rambles never fail to help me focus and gain perspective.

I’ve always known that this practice was beneficial, I just didn’t know it was a legitimate form of therapy, one with origins in Japan where it is called Shinrin Yoku or Forest Bathing. It sounds a little dreamy, non? The idea is simple: if a person simply visits a natural area and walks in a relaxed way there are calming, rejuvenating and restorative benefits to be achieved.*  There is a litany of scientifically proven benefits, but the two I most need at these times, and which I always find in the woods are the increased ability to focus* and a clearer intuition*.

A friend introduced me to the Trent University Wildlife Sanctuary and Nature Areas which, fortunately for my practice of Shinrin Yoku is a very short drive from the hospital in Peterborough. There are twelve designated nature areas, each with multiple trails so the exploration possibilities are seemingly endless. I’ve travelled a few but my favourite place to wander are the two trails of the Canal Nature Area (CNA) where all the images in this post were taken.

My reason for sharing this information today is that I have heard from three readers that they are undergoing medical crises of their own and I believe and hope that the practice of Shinrin Yoku will help you cope during this trying time. In fact, anyone who is feeling stressed-out or overwhelmed will find solace, comfort and a measure of serenity in the practice of forest bathing. I have attached the link if you wish to learn more about this therapy.

‘Til next time, y’all…

*shinrinyoku.org

 

Extinction is Forever

dragonfly

Mum and I took a trip to Florida the year after Dad died. It’d been a very hard year for both of us, we were mired in a funk and one day upon her return from work, Mum announced that we were going to go south, lie on a beach in the sun, sip tropical drinks decorated with umbrellas, play at Disney world and most importantly of all, leave our sadness behind. We left two weeks later. It was one of the happiest and busiest vacations I’ve ever had and it was perfectly restorative for the pair of us.

No two people could have crammed more into their vacation than us. We went to Kennedy Space Centre, Daytona Beach, Disney World, Epcot Centre, Cypress Gardens, Busch Gardens, Dunedin and took a boat cruise to mention but a few of the highlights. My favourite was Busch Gardens because it was fun and I learned a lot about the animal kingdom – it is so much more than a zoo. Their main slogan at that time (and in the gift shop, it was for sale emblazoned on just about every product known to man) was “Extinction is Forever”. True, it was an early warning commentary on our lack of respect for the environment, but it was catchy and trendy and I couldn’t resist; I came home with the tee shirt for both Cam and I.

random turtle.001

For the past two weeks I have been reading, and doing my best to assimilate, a new extinction report released by PNAS, titled:

“Biological annihilation via the ongoing sixth mass extinction signalled by vertebrate population losses and declines.”

What sets this study apart from the hundreds (thousands?) done before it is the use of population extinction/range contraction data, not just species extinction data. Population loss is significant because it puts ecosystem services at risk.

random tree.001

Sadly, damage to ecosystem services is all caused by humans: Habitat destruction or degradation, overpopulation, pollution, toxification, climate change, disease, overconsumption (mostly by the rich), and the magnification of each caused by the interplay amongst these factors. Some scary statistics:

  • Nearly a quarter (22%) of North American species have experienced a range contraction of at least 80%.
  • 50% of North American species have experienced a range contraction of at least 41%.
  • More than 30% of the insect population has experienced a range contraction.
  • 32% of all known vertebrate species are decreasing.
  • 40% of mammals have experienced population losses and 100% of mammals have lost 30% or more of their geographic range.
  • 2 species of vertebrates become extinct every year.
  • LPI records wildlife abundance on the planet down 58%

Despite these staggering statistics – which will adversely affect human life in the years to come – public concern ranges from indifference to only the mildest concern, my friends and colleagues included. But here is the real kicker – this is all on us – the boomers: This decimation has occurred between 1970 and 2012. We cannot sit back and blame this extinction on our parents generation or our kids generation. We. Did. This.

The study indicates that although the window of opportunity is very small, there remain two to three decades in which a reversal of our current behaviours will positively affect the environment, allowing some populations to grow and some ecosystems to recover. Thirty years at most! Predictions indicate that our destruction of biological diversity will continue for twenty more years and the trend is toward more powerful decimation of both wildlife and ecosystems. According to Dr. Erlich, one of the authors of the study, the only solution is “to reduce the scale of human enterprise”. For each of you reading this blog, there are two things you, personally, can do to make a positive change:

  1. Reduce your use of fuel. Anything powered/any generation of heating or cooling requires fuel, whether it be gas, electricity, wood, coal, uranium, etc.; and
  2. Contact your federal representatives; urge them to vigorously support the implementation of measures to meet and exceed the terms of the Paris Accord.

picnic table

It is Friday morning, I am sitting writing this post in my notebook on a picnic table beside Lake Ontario at Presqu’ile. It is slightly overcast, very hot and a little humid but there is a lovely fresh breeze blowing off the water. Cormorants, mallards, geese and swans are all bobbing happily on the surface of the lake. Chipmunks and squirrels are frolicking in the bushes at the shoreline. Seagulls, of course, are everywhere – mostly mooching scraps from the tables of novice picnickers. I’ve had a massive case of the heebie-jeebies all the while because of the ants and other creepy-crawlies falling from the tree limbs above. My point is that, amid all this wildlife, it is hard if not impossible to believe in the sixth mass extinction. Yet it has been scientifically proven to be so. The damage we have done to our ecosystems is significantly worse than common belief. Of course, here in the park, protection of wildlife and ecosystems is the order of the day but as a society, as the generation most responsible for this carnage, we must do better, and most of all, we must understand what it will take for us to make the necessary changes.

’Til next time, y’all…

GLOSSARY

Sixth Mass Extinction: We are living in the sixth geological epoch, also known as The Holocene . The sixth mass extinction refers to the mass rate of extinction in progress, primarily caused by human exploits.

PNAS: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

biodiversity: Biological diversity refers to the number of different species of plants and animals coexisting in a specific area or the globe in general. More is always better.

population extinction: Population refers to either a geographic or demographic (interbreeding) group within a particular species. Population extinction means the obliteration of a species from a specific area, or a breeding group dying out. Population extinction is often a prelude to species extinction.

Ecosystem services are any benefits to human life that are provided by either wildlife or their ecosystems. These benefits are divided into four subgroups:
Cultural Services (intangibles, ie recreational, psychological, social, creative); and
Regulating Services (essential to human life, ie the cleaning of our air and water, waste decomposition, erosion control, pollination); and
Supporting Services (fundamentals such as soil creation, photosynthesis, the nutrient and water cycles); and
Provisioning Services (production of food, water, fuels, remedies)

LPI = Living Planet Index

My indulgence:

Team Perrault

Team Perrault: Two against the world! Happy 33rd Anniversary Cam. I love you very much. xoxox

 

 

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2017/07/05/1704949114.full?sid=0413fbda-acb2-4d52-8345-e8320d95f7f6

Beauty

marsh

Saturday was beautiful. It was a day of wonderment, discovery, creativity and connection. I went to the Lakefield Literary Festival. Alone. And had a grand time, loving every minute of it. To my great delight, I discovered that my tribe is not extinct after all; I found them – dozens of them – paper book readers, lovers of the physical book, shunners of the virtual e-book and in their company I no longer felt like the square peg. You see, at book club I am the only one who does not use an e-reader for all our books and as such am considered their token dinosaur. I’m happy with that monicker. I do have a Kobo and I enjoy using it (just not reading on it). As a reader, I use it exclusively for books that are either out of print, super-duper expensive or hard to find but given my druthers, I will visit a book shop and buy a real book every time.

Amongst the joys of the Lakefield Literary Festival was a session with an author, critic and blogger who I admire and follow. She spoke passionately about writing – hers and ours. About infusing her blog with love. In her case, her love of books, of her family, her love of being an author and literary critic, her love of travel and especially her love of the life and lifestyle she shares with her husband and two kiddos. If she can combine all of those in a blog post, she feels she’s succeeded. Those are the posts I most enjoy reading. She talked about being authentic in her writing but not taking herself too seriously. She also advised us to be true to ourselves, to write what we feel, when we are feeling it no matter how rambling or random that may be. To write about what we love and why we love it. Gosh, it all sounded so simple. If only it were so! The question she put to me was “Why do you love Presqu’ile so much, Pamela?” Hmmmm… The beauty, of course!

“Here I am thirty-four years old,
and yet my life is almost wholly unexpanded.”
[H.D. Thoreau]

Discussing experiences, travels and accomplishments with other festival attendees, I got the sense that many felt, especially at age sixty, my life was indeed wholly unexpanded. Yet rather than feeling dissatisfied or envious, I felt blissfully sure that I am exactly where I ought to be, having travelled the exact path I was meant to have walked. I am content and untroubled. So much of that confidence lies in my faith and in the peace I have found and cultivated through my solitude at Presqu’ile and my meditation.

Summer at the Shores

In many ways, today’s trip to Presqu’ile felt like a return to my blog’s origin: Summer At the Shores, a Presqu’ile Experience. Beyond a few minutes on the deck at the marsh, I spent my park time at the shore, writing, enjoying my picnic, savouring my solitude and admiring the beautiful scene before me. It was crazy-hot today, 31 degrees, feeling like a giant furnace was pumping out hot air as fast as it could.  A perfect day for sitting in the shade, being lulled by the gentle lapping of the smallest of waves against the pebble shoreline and relishing the soft breeze. There were lots of visitors in the park today and, close by, the day-camp kiddos frolicking in the lake, shrieking and giggling at its icy coldness yet I was undisturbed in my stillness and reverie. In truth, hearing their youthful mirth at each other’s water antics was infectious and I did giggle myself a time or two. In that interlude I realized that one thing I love about Presqu’ile, perhaps the main thing, is that it meets everyone’s hopes and expectations for a perfect park experience, every time, all year long.

frolicking

As early as late June last year I wrote, Sadly, the summer scorch is beginning to appear already…* Not so this summer! The pannes are still like small lakes, full of water; flowers blooming, ducks floating, egrets fishing, deer drinking and all kinds of water bugs skittering across the surface.

The vegetation is thick, tall, very green, and lush – pretty wildflowers abound.

Their bright colours attract dragonflies, moths, butterflies and bees galore. Bees, of course, are an essential element of the ecosystem but if I’m completely honest, their susurrus was more than a little intimidating as I was crouching in their midst trying to capture the perfect shot. Harmless – today – as it happens, but a little scary all the same for someone with a bee venom allergy. This is another thing I love about Presqu’ile, the amazing number of species of all living things, each one of them beautiful in their own way.

Like the pannes, the water level of the marsh is very much higher than it has ever been – at any time – especially for July when, often and last summer in particular, much of the water dries up. The result is that the reeds, grasses and other marsh plants are bigger and healthier. The flora creates lots of secluded idyls where the swans, geese and ducks are spending much of their time so catching a glimpse of them is often trickier. The view across the marsh is a site to behold this year and if you have the chance, you should really visit Presqu’ile and see it for yourself – this degree of luxuriant growth may not happen again in our lifetime. It is truly a thing of beauty!

marsh 2

Why do you love Presqu’ile so much, Pamela? That is what you should write about in your blog! Either last year with the drought and early summer scorch, or this year with the flooding and so many areas of the park off limits, I see beauty at every turn in Presqu’ile and the loveliness calms, inspires and restores my body and mind.

shore

‘Til next time, y’all…

*https://summerattheshores.wordpress.com/2016/06/25/today-at-the-shores/