“When it rains, it pours.” And why shouldn’t it. After all, the near drought conditions around here made the marsh mud so dry and hard that if you accidentally dropped a quarter on it, the quarter would bounce itself into deformity, forever relinquishing its ability to roll. The only thing louder than the clap clap clap of the clapper rails was the pounding noise of the fiddler crabs as they jackhammered their way back into their holes. In fact, the mud was so hard that you could literally cut glass with it. And while I think of it, did I mention how hard the mud was?
Then came four days of rain….fourteen and one half inches, and as if by magic, the thirsty remnant of a marsh was transformed into a veritable Garden of Eden. With one great flush, Mother Nature gave the place a serious house cleaning, sending a wave of nutrient rich broth out into the gulf to form the first link in the all important food chain.
The air suddenly became so clean and sweet and pure it made you regret having to exhale, while all that it blanketed became a throbbing celebration of psychedelic color. One was immediately filled with a sense of great joy, bordering on euphoria. Even the white of the birds became neon. There was a new bounce in their steps and each splashing step was so clear and audible in the otherwise roaring silence that it echoed endlessly around the pen.
Soon, the feeders were purged of their watery mush and refilled with dry food as we stood in the flooded feed shelter with the three cranes. “Any of you guys got a fishing license?” asked #5, while #7 yelled, “Backstroke!” We huddled for a while surveying the scene until it was time to go. The human body is made up of mostly water and now so were our clothes. It would be a long wade back to the parking area. And me without my life jacket and flares. So off we went.
On the way, we passed a cotton mouth that looked up at us as if to say, “Hey….what is the Garden of Eden without a serpent?”
And back at the parking lot we were greeted by our old friend, Spike, the resident gator…his first appearance of the year. We really had missed the little guy and wondered what might have happened to him. There he was…only bigger. “Time flies!”, he said.
Also waiting was the van, rendered hood up dead by my earlier Evil Kneval attempt to ford a puddle…or was it a pond. We couldn’t decide whether to call AAA or Jacque Cousteau for a tow.
But the wonder of all that we had just experienced made the trouble worth it. Besides, you can never expect to get your Ying without at least a little Yang. Guess it’s like Eve said to Adam in the Garden, “Quit your whining about that darn apple, would ya please. Even paradise has a breakdown lane!”