Posted in A bit of history, Autumn, Change, Earth, Eastern Shore, Exploring, Fire, Hiking, Maryland, Nature, Photography, Portals & Pathways, Quotes, Spirit, Walking & Wandering, Water, Wonder, Woods

A walk in the swamp

Pocomoke River State Park, Shad Landing area.
Pocomoke River State Park, Shad Landing area.

It amazes me how easy it is for things to change, how easy it is to start off down the same road you always take and wind up somewhere new.

And it makes me feel, weirdly, like maybe all these different possibilities exist at the same time, like each moment we live has a thousand other moments layered underneath it that look different.

~ Lauren Oliver

Looking for the trail
Looking for the trail

Yesterday was perfect for hiking.  It was one of those amazing autumn days with a deep, blue sky, lots of sunshine, and pleasantly cool temperatures.

Bald Cyprus
Bald Cypress

M and I decided to put aside the work here at the Wabi-Sabi Ranch and go explore Pocomoke River State Park.  It’s not too far from us, and I have been clamoring to go because they have trails through the swamp areas where the Bald Cypress trees grow.

Leaves of the Taxodium distichum (Bald Cyprus)
Leaves of the Taxodium distichum (Bald Cypress)

In his book, “Nature-Speak,” Ted Andrews writes that one of the keynotes of the Cypress tree is finding comfort in the home.  The Bald Cypress is a classic tree of southern swamps, and they are native from Maryland and south along the eastern coast, and west to Texas.  With the right soil, it has been known to do well as far north as Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

02 November 2011.  Bald Cyprus at the Holden Arboretum.  Ohio.
02 November 2011. Bald Cypress at the Holden Arboretum. Ohio.

The first time I met a Bald Cypress was at the Holden Arboretum in Ohio in 2011.  We were late for the autumn leaf peeping show, and just about the only tree left with color was the Bald Cypress.  It is a deciduous conifer, and its leaves change color in the fall.  I brought you a couple of photos from that encounter because the Bald Cypress trees here on the Eastern Shore are just beginning to show some color and don’t yet have the brilliance of the trees I met at the arboretum two years ago.

Under a Cyprus Tree.  02 November 2011.  Holden Arboretum.
Under a Cypress Tree. 02 November 2011. Holden Arboretum.

Although Bald Cypress trees grow well in Ohio, one thing I did not see were the “knees” which occur only near water.  Nobody knows exactly what the “knees” are for, but it is speculated that it is a way for the roots to obtain oxygen.

A "knee"
A “knee.”  (Taken yesterday.)

The Trail of Change in the Pocomoke River State Park is an easy hike that leads you through old growth forest that was once farmland, and into the cypress swamp.  It is a one mile, self-guided trail where you can learn how the forest has adapted and changed with time, and through the activities of the human inhabitants of the area.

Near the beginning of the Trail of Change.
Near the beginning of the Trail of Change.

One source claims “pocomoke” means dark or black water.  The photo I posted yesterday is a good example of how dark the water appears.  Another source proposes “pocomoke” is derived from a word meaning pierced or broken land.  Whatever the case, the Pocomoke River is 66 miles long, and the upper part of the river rises from and flows through the Great Cypress Swamp in Delaware, eventually making its way to Pocomoke Sound where it enters the Chesapeake Bay between Maryland and Virginia.

Long shadows
Long shadows

We all travel the milky way together, trees and men . . . trees are travellers, in the ordinary sense.  They make journeys, not very extensive ones, it is true: but our own little comes and goes are only little more than tree-wavings — many of them not so much.

~ John Muir

In the cypress swamp
In the cypress swamp

I’ll have more from the hike tomorrow or sometime this week.  Things are revving up around the Wabi-Sabi Ranch.  The cabinets for the kitchen are due to arrive November 1.  Before and after that, true chaos will rule the roost while we demo the kitchen, and get everything ready for the new cabinets and new counter tops.  In between the work and the chaos, I’m sure I’ll want to return to the woods and the swamp, even if it’s a virtual walk through the photos I took.

October 2013 051a

Thanks for stopping by, and joining me on part of my walk on the Trail of Change.  (That made me chuckle for some reason.  Seems like Trail of Change is a good metaphor for life, particularly my life lately.)

The shadows reach out
The shadows reach out

Be good, be kind, be loving.  Just Be.  🙂


Robin is a photographer, artist, writer, yoga teacher, sometime poet, wife, mom, grandma, daughter, sister, friend, and occasional traveler currently living on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. She shares her daily walks and meanders, a lot of quotes, some of her artwork, and a lot of her photography here on Ye Olde Blogge. Older posts can be found at Life in the Bogs, her previous blog. Robin and her husband are (still!) in the midst of renovating the house and cleaning up the property they refer to as the Wabi-Sabi Ranch, 35 acres that include marsh, a dock on a tidal creek, meadows, and woodlands. Every day brings new discoveries.

24 thoughts on “A walk in the swamp

    1. I think there are some things we can do every day and find them different in some way, Colline. But there are other things that I know I do on a regular basis that are a little like banging my head against a brick wall: crazy. It’s too bad some habits can’t be changed as easily as a walk. Hmmm… or maybe they can. 🙂


    1. I know, CM!! I thought the same thing when I saw it! I’ve been thinking up names for the trails around the Wabi-Sabi Ranch ever since I saw that sign. I think we should name the trail through the woods, the one that goes to the dock, The Path of Transformation. Whenever I go out that way, all my frustrations fall away. Immediate transformation. It’s not very original (just a rewording), but it fits. 😀


  1. The blog might be a new one, but the photos are as stunning as always.

    I am so far behind on things, I didn’t even realised you had moved, so now I am going back to find out the history!


    1. Thank you, Robyn. 🙂 I’ll save you some trouble: My husband was offered a job out this way and after much consideration, we decided it was worth the move. That was the main reason behind the new blog although the reasons I gave on my last post at Life in the Bogs were valid, too. I had a little trouble adjusting to the move at first. Our children and grandchildren are still back in Ohio (in or near the Bogs) so I miss not being close to them. However, my husband and I grew up on or near the east coast of the U.S. so we both have other family not far from us (for me, all of my siblings and my father as well as a zillion cousins are just a few hours away, and it’s pretty much the same for my husband). With all of us aging, getting to spend more time with them is a plus. I think that about sums it all up. 😀


      1. I expected that you had moved, but when I went back it wasn’t the reason given – 😆 – but I had notice the comment about missing the pond, so I thought “Hmmmm” to myself. Glad to hear all is well! You never know, the kids might move too? In time.


        1. I don’t think it’s likely that they will move, Robyn. Plus I’m not sure I want them to since our youngest son and his wife are living in our house in the Bogs (and taking excellent care of it and the property). Our oldest son and his wife are very settled into their jobs and the community, and I’m sure their daughters wouldn’t want to change schools. I’m hoping they’ll want to spend a lot of vacation time with us since we’re near the beach. 😀


Comments are delightful and always appreciated. I will respond when I can (life is keeping me busy!), and/or come around to visit you at your place soon. Thank you!

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