Friday, August 9, 2013

Wetlands of Wisdom

This morning, amid cell phone text alerts of serious flash flooding, Holley and I began our ride to Cornwall’s Outdoor Discovery Center for her camp counselor assignment.  Our route traversed Montgomery, Coldenham, Rock Tavern, New Windsor and Cornwall.  This is one of the most beautiful corridors in Orange County, NY and home to numerous rich and bio-diverse marshes and wetlands.

I slowed down to look at the wetland of North Drury Lane. The steady “inhalation” of water there immediately struck me; how the extended marsh is perfectly and complexly configured by nature to handle massive amounts of rain with ease.  Trying to do a bit of calculation of what four inches of rain amounts to in a basin as large as the Stewart Buffer Zone I had to laugh a little at the thought of a “flash flood.”  The hydrologic flows and the natural expansion and accommodation made by the hydric soil, hydrophytes and natural earthen contours offer an amazing look into the inland freshwater ecosystems that we have working for us every day.

On my way home I had to stop in the driving rain and just sit and look as deeply as I could into these amazing freshwater wonders.  It became apparent to me that these complex systems work, in part, because of their collaborative plant and animal biodiversity.  No one species dominates the other, save the exotic loosestrife along outer ditches and roadways.  Advantages and disadvantages are traded back and forth with the tendency toward robustness and diversity: in short, a successful affirmation of life.

If we can recognize our own earthbound animal biology, I think we can also look to the marshes and wetlands for wisdom.