Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Mid-December Outing

moody sky :: changing waterlilies :: cypress knees :: eroding shoreline

Who'dah thought that we'd be out on our kayaks in mid-December? Not me. It is warmer than we are used to in Farmville, but not that much warmer - not normally. But I suppose that is the way of things all over this year, everyone seems to be warmer than planned and very un-Christmas-y, too.

Anyhow, a-paddling we did go; a celebratory adventure to mark the beginning of Julian's winter break. The sky was moody, the wind harsh, and the water choppy. We paddled over four miles round-trip.

The Sandy River Reservoir is the lake we frequent most often and one of the many man-made lakes that are local to us. It is so interesting to explore because parts of it are so counter-intuitive because it isn't natural. The "lake front properties" are just country houses with country people living in them. There are no schmancy gated communities looking over Sandy River, because the country folks were there before the lake was.

There is also very intentional plant-scaping to create perfect habitats for certain creatures. You can see in my pictures above that the shore is being washed away a little bit at a time in this spot. What my pictures don't show is the semi-circle of bald cypress trees that have been planted in the water in front of it. Over time, the roots of these trees will grow together into a webbed wall which will protect the shore and form it's own marshy wetland habitat between the strong current of the lake and the delicate border. Genius! But oddly organized-looking.

Such a treat. So good for the spirit.

A note about those cypress knees: they are called "knees" but they are really just knobby parts of the trees' roots that stick up from beneath the water's surface. I can remember as a child seeing cypress knee "santas" at craft fairs and in shops. In the deep south, it was a widely popular (and I assume lucrative) habit to whack the poor trees and then paint on the roots and sell them as a novelty. This has now been outlawed in most states that deal with the problem, making cypress knee santas highly collectible and rather expensive if you consider that it is just a chunk of wood with a beard!

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