Susan Carol Hauser

Archive for the ‘Bog-watching’ Category

Peeping the Land: A Survey

In Bog-watching, Peeping the Land on September 2, 2014 at 2:23 pm

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Peeping the Lane: A Survey
September 2, 2014
August 30 post revisited.

From my window, I watch the bog. No human foot treads upon it, not in winter or spring, not in summer, not in this incipient autumn when the grasses and reeds separate from each other by way of color, chartreuse where the water course runs, dark forest where the creek enters the bay, fern where the grasses mix with each other in disarray. The bay is equally blessed with solitude and disorder. Lillies and wild rice and flora I cannot name crowd the open blue water of summer. There is profit in the overage: the swans still eat here and Canada geese, though I think the pelicans and loons are gone. Soon the arctic loons will arrive, along with other migrating fowl, cormorants, blackducks, snow geese, many that I do not even try to name. They will not stay long. They are only fleet messengers: we are here; we will be back.

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Peeping the Land: A Survey

In Bog-watching, Peeping the Land on July 6, 2014 at 11:19 pm

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Peeping the Land: A Survey, July 6, 2014

I have lived on this land for nearly forty years and have seen many painted turtles in that time. This year is the first time that I have seen a snapping turtle. It climbed the hill from the bay and when I discovered her, she was laying her eggs in a shallow nest dug into the soft dirt alongside the house, under a window on the west side. I would not have seen her at all had I not leaned into the window seat that morning to crank shut the side windows against impending rain. There she was, backed up against the house, appearing to be up to nothing, but I knew she was laying eggs. I removed the screen from the window, took a few pictures, then went about my day. When I checked the spot in the afternoon, she was gone, her nest with its    white ping-pong ball eggs neatly covered over. I have seen many such nests alongside the road that goes by my house, but I only have seen them because they had been raided, dug up by skunks, raccoons, or birds, soft bits of turtle shells strewn around the site. I decided to protect the nest. I laid a piece of fire wood on each side of it perpendicular to the house, then laid a wire garden tray on top of the logs and weighted the tray down with two split logs. The bottom logs opened passage ways that the hatchlings could get through when they came out of the nest. The top logs would prevent small predators from moving the tray. A nest is thought to be detected by the odors that swarm out of it: the wet coating that covers the eggs as they are laid, sometimes turtle urine, or the smell of the eggs themselves, if some are broken or have gone rotten.  I wonder if even the scent of freshly turned earth might attract some animals or birds. Eighty to ninety-percent of turtle eggs are believed to be lost to predators or other natural afflictions, such as weather. The hatchlings are also at risk, both on land and in water, until they mature. There are probably twenty to forty creamy-white eggs in the nest outside my window, their inhabitants growing the way hope does in our human thoughts: taking on an inevitable shape, finding its way to sunlight, embarking on a journey to somewhere, to an unpredictable conclusion.

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Peeping the Land: A Survey

In Bog-watching, Peeping the Land on July 1, 2014 at 8:05 pm

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Peeping the Land: A Survey, July 1, 2014
The Field

The basswood, large and round, marks the east and south corner of the south ten acres of the property. The tree is nearly perfect in its configuration—or perhaps it is perfect. Its dark green crown both separates and unites Earth and sky, the way the present unites and separates the future and the past.

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Bog-Watching, June 8, 2014

In Bog-watching on June 8, 2014 at 4:01 pm

Peeping the Bog, June 8, 2014

 The bog has gone green with summer. The small water course that churns from a pressure ridge out to the bay is obscured by new growth on the bog mat and, from my window, by the full leafage of the trees on the hillside. The path of the creek is still visible, though. It is not so wide that I can see the water that presses back on the grasses, but I can see the grasses themselves, darker perhaps because they capture light and shadow and reflection from the water. That meandering line spells out the creek bed, if you know how to read.

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Bog-Watching, June 1, 2014

In Bog-watching on June 1, 2014 at 8:11 pm

Bog-watching, June 1, 2014

Even the bog appreciates the rain that sandwiches it in water, the water below that it floats on, water coming down from above, saturating its top soil and mosses, their roots exuberant with the wash, stems, leaves, incipient seeds unfolding upwards, almost riotously, like a child in a bath, splashing everything with green, with hope and promise.

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Bog-Watching

In Bog-watching on May 29, 2014 at 11:45 pm

Peeping the Bog, May 25, 2014

The creek opens into the lake, its meager current not visible on the water’s surface, the way new growth in the bog is not visible through last year’s dwindling grasses, except where a vein of water parts the bog mat and this year’s growth emerges, a green line that will soon be obscured by the larger green of the bog itself, the way the skeletal forms of the trees will be obscured by this year’s leaves, coming on even now, the way the shape of our lives, the direction and force, is clear, sometimes, for a season, submerges for a while, long or short, inhale, exhale, one always leading back to the other.

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Peeping the Bog: May 13, 2014

In Bog-watching on May 13, 2014 at 2:12 pm

Peeping the Bog: May 13, 2014

Yesterday at noon I turned off the primary switch for my house heat. Last night I built a fire in my woodstove to take the chill off the evening air. This morning I rekindled the fire and then, faced with bringing in more wood, I turned the heat switch back on. The deciding factor was the scene in the bay: ice coats the two little grass islands near the shore and reveals a third one. A lone water bird floats to the side of the westerly island. None stand atop. For a moment I wonder if it is November, if I somehow missed summer. The coming and going of the seasons are not always distinct. Even the summer birds at my feeders—rose-breasted grosbeaks, red-winged blackbirds, orioles; Harris sparrows on the ground cleaning up the detritus—could be migrating north or south. In a few days or a week or so the impetus will be clear: grass greening rather than going brown; the birds staying, working at their nests; the yellow dandelion suns blooming alongside the house, huddled there like little animals seeking warmth, will flower all across the yard. On the coolest of mornings the miniature islands in the bay, going green with the grass, will be lively with ducks and geese, each in their turn standing up to the sun.

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Bog-watching: May 11, 2014

In Bog-watching on May 11, 2014 at 4:30 pm

Peeping the Bog, May 11, 2014

The water course in the bog – not the pencil-line of the creek that bisects from Lake Julia to Lake Puposky, but the slight water course that springs from the pressure ridge we call The Island and that meanders, as would a great river, to the bay, and that offered the first open water of spring, long before the bay ice separated from the shore, that water course that disappeared from sight for awhile, when the snow melted and the water retreated below the grasses, that water course this morning has emerged again, a green line drawn as though with crayon across the dun-colored canvas of the bog.

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Bog Watching: May 6, 2014

In Bog-watching on May 7, 2014 at 12:18 am

Peeping the Bog, May 6, 2014

Last year’s grasses hold strong in the bog, but in the bay they are mostly gone. Two small islands remain, one two-feet in diameter, the other three-feet, more or less. I have been watching them now for several days. They are like bus stops for the birds. Canada geese and the occasional crow are the only ones I can identify, but other birds, gulls and small ducks come and go, stopping to preen, to look around. No one seems to claim dominion. The meager mounds are public property. They make me think about big rocks—erratics—in public places, especially alongside paths. Children and adults alike stop their passage and climb or leap onto them, standing for a moment higher than ground, looking around, as though there might be something more to see than can be seen from the path. Maybe we just like the feel of stone under our feet, or like to be above it all, a sort of mental preening of our feathers, a place to see from but also a place to be seen. 

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Bog Watching: May 4, 2014

In Bog-watching on May 4, 2014 at 10:47 pm

Peeping the Bog: May 4, 2014

With the ice gone from the bay, white is a memory and last year’s cattails, reed canary grass and bulrushes dominate the landscape of the bog. Together, their color is as monochromatic as snow, and I yearn for the greening as I did for blue water. 

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