Swampkeeper’s Secrets


Meandering Monday

Exploring my town on foot always helps me feel grounded, established where I live. Like I know the place. I begin to see the same cars driving by at the same times and people out walking just like me. I notice when someone paints their house or if a small business has closed. I know when to expect to see the deer in my completely suburban neighborhood and where the giant birds as tall as me hang out in the evening.

Looking for magic on these jaunts, allows me to be enchanted by this place I call home. On a recent meander through a nearby neighborhood I found this fence. It spoke to me, as fences often do, so I snapped a couple photos of it.

A simple peeling fence, tethered to a tree by three wraps of rope and surrounded by subtropical flora begs to be described in detail as if the beginning of a hot summer mystery.

“Old Florida is slow to give up its history. Choosing instead to hide its secrets and redirect attention from what it holds sacred and dear. The earth ages quicker here, molting, mutating, and consuming itself with consistency and hunger. Humidity rusts metal long before its time and the summer rains pull the blanket of lush ground cover over recent and past mistakes.

But she was determined to unearth what really happened that steamy summer night twenty years ago. She never thought she’d come back to this godforsaken swamp, let alone to this exact spot. Not much had changed. At least on the surface, but she knew better and she knew where to look.

The fence was still there, more weather-worn, but still doing its job – dividing here from there. But it appeared as if it could no longer stand on its own. It had been pulled from the ground and now stood tethered with assistance to a tree and a length of aluminum fencing at one end and a series of newer posts seemed to replace what were surely rotting stanchions along the rest of its length. The earth had yet to rise up to meet it, so this was a recent improvement. Might be a good place to start…”

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