I grew up surrounded by – swamps. Yep. The entire area on the opposite side of the road from our house was northern Minnesota swamp land. Back down the logging road that led into the woods behind our house were ponds and more swamp land. They were inhabited by frogs, muskrats, leeches and LOTS of mosquitoes.
In the summer they would become dotted with golden dots of sunshine that we called Cowslips. They were lovely little waxen flowers. I always wanted to pick the Cowslips, but the swamp protected them. It was wet and boggy. It always managed to thwart my efforts to gather a bouquet of those lovely little buttercups.
When you live a half a mile from the nearest neighbor and there is a forest of poplar, birch and pine trees in between you, true darkness can be experienced after sundown. Sunset in Minnesota in the summer doesn’t arrive until late in the evening. Unless you turned on a yard light, the moon and stars were the only lights you would see, except for the fireflies over the swamp.
Our house sat up on a little hill that looked down on the dirt road that ran past it and overlooked the big swamp on the other side. I remember sitting out on the hill in the dark with my siblings just watching the fireflies flitting about over the swamp. The frogs created low background music, accompanied by the low hum of mosquitoes circling around us.
Mosquitoes didn’t seem to bite us much. They still seem to be more attracted to others more than they are to me. Maybe growing up surrounded by swampland creates an immunity. I’m not sure. Makes you appreciate simple things though, like Cowslips and fireflies.
Do I want to move back there? NOPE. But it’s nice to do some nostalgic reminiscing about summers long ago, while sitting inside on an April evening with a snowstorm dragging our winter out a bit too long.
Photo attribution: http://www.ForestWander.com