Award winning author

Award winning author

Swamp thing…

The boardwalk was just a few inches above the water - taking me right into the heart of the swamp
The boardwalk was just a few inches above the water – taking me right into the heart of the swamp

While in New Orleans for the Romantic Times Convention last week, I was able to take a side trip into one of the places I have always wanted to go – deep into the Louisiana swamps.

South of the city, there’s a national park with a boardwalk built out into the swamp.

It was a really really hot day – the swamp was steamy – in other words – absolutely perfect.

Except for the mosquitos, of course. They were the size and ferocity of a pterodactyl, but I guess that is just the price I had to pay for this amazing walk down by the bayou.

The vegetation is incredibly lush and green. Bits of higher, dry ground do emerge from the water in places, but mostly there’s a few inches of water across the whole of the land. This water is often dark red brick colour – and it’s home for no end of creatures.

It took me a while to spot my first frog - but after I had seen this chap - I saw them everywhere
It took me a while to spot my first frog – but after I had seen this chap – I saw them everywhere.
As for the snakes - they were everywhere - on lands and on water... even on the boardwalk.
As for the snakes – they were everywhere – on land and on water… even on the boardwalk.

I was not sure which of the snakes are poisonous, but coming from Australia, I long ago decided it was easier to assume everything wanted to kill me – than I was not likely to make a mistake.

I have been looking for a word to describe to feeling of the place – fecund comes close. There is so much life happening – things living, breeding, dying and rotting – all so quickly. I was left with the feeling that the place was just teeming with… life happening.

Some trees grew to great heights - but a large number fell - presumably in hurricanes - before they could dig their roots deep enough to find solid ground.
Some trees grew to great heights – but a large number fell – presumably in hurricanes – before they could dig their roots deep enough to find solid ground.

In the midst of all this, there were still things of delicate beauty…

There were dragonflies of the most lovely colours...
There were dragonflies of the most lovely colours…
...and flowers that seemed far too delicate to survive in such a place.
…and flowers that seemed far too delicate to survive in such a place.

I managed to walk about four miles across the swamp on the boardwalk in the heat. Even in that short period, the changing light gave me some idea why people have always found such places mysterious… haunted even.

Even the haunted parts of the swamp were quite lovely,
Even the haunted parts of the swamp were quite lovely,

I felt like I was dead of heat exhaustion by the time I got out of there –  but it was worth it…

Next week – I’ll take you in a trip to another haunted place in New Orleans – one of the city’s famous graveyards.