What I’ve discovered is that despite my lack of green pigmentation, I might be part ogre. (Not everyone reading this is surprised.) Using Shrek as the base model for ogre-ness, I qualify in a lot of ways. I am frequently loudly farty and burpy. Surliness is my go to emotion for Ev.Er.Y.Thing. I am often misunderstood and regretful of the aforementioned surliness which then leads to self-hating surliness. It’s an ugly surly circle.
The final piece: I was completely blissed out hanging out in a bog this morning.(Yes, I know Shrek lives in a swamp which is different from a bog, but are you really going to nit pick with an ogre?)
Today’s adventure took me to the Cedar Bog Nature Preserve in Urbana, Ohio.
Boardwalk paths roughly a mile long wind through a decidedly wet and slightly less wet sedge meadow area of the preserve. I knew it was love when I entered the tree line and saw muddy paw prints running for several yards along the boards. It turned out that paw prints were the norm through out the walk.
One of my favorite types of walks is when the environment is so shady that you don’t notice the heat. It was in the 90’s today, but inside the trees, that wasn’t as noticeable although bug spray would have been advisable.
The bog is not for fast walking or loud voices. I was certain that there were hundreds of creatures around me at all times if I just looked hard enough. It was like those visual puzzles that if you stare at it long enough, the image will suddenly become clear.
Like picking out this snake on a fallen tree from all the other elements around it.
Fortunately, (or unfortunately because it would have been interesting from a distance.) it was not one of the local rattlers.
The attendee at the nature center kindly talked me through the things I might see on my walk, but basically told me I had picked a poor window of time to show up. All the glorious spring blooms were done and it would be a couple of weeks before the orchids started blooming. However I did get to see the Southern Blue Flag Iris and some Columbine that were still blooming.
Thanks to a friend who is a frequent bog visitor, I also got to see a Sundew which is a carnivorous plant! I had to look up some images to figure out exactly what I was looking for in the sedge meadow and this photo required laying on the boardwalk much to the amusement of the family that found me there. I think the little kids were hoping I had something more impressive than minuscule alien-looking plants.
I might have impressed them more with my frog find and my skink.
The bog was absolutely alive with sound and movement. I kept catching the scurrying blue tail ends of skinks as they darted off the boardwalk. Finally though, I found one who was a supermodel.
This skink was significantly longer and rounder than the ones I had come across during most of my walk. It also looked like it’s tail may have been nipped off halfway down. Once it emerged from the leaves, it let me get really close and posed for several pictures. I could see the flutter of breathing under its iridescent bronze skin. The Internet thinks that it’s a Broad Headed Skink, Ohio’s largest lizard.
I would go back. It was quiet. It had the smell that I associate with the national parks out West: pine and cedar. It felt healthy and magical. I was happy to be there.