The “Rezzie” in Spring…
This is my back yard! It is exactly as the title implies — a reservoir, but also a hidden, ecological paradise of which I am fiercely protective.
Located about thirty steps from the back edge of my property line, the “Rezzie” (as the locals call it) is roughly a dozen acres or so of protected wetland, tucked in the far back of, but running half the distance of the town that claims it. Everyone who has grown up here knows of it and everyone has a story or two to tell. I do too.
My story, like so many others, began in another time — before the changes made a few years back — before the decision was made to make it “accessible” to the human animal — before there were walking trails and boardwalks and benches and trash cans. My story began when it was only visible in glimpses — when the leaves were off of the thick scrub in Winter — when the wind blew the branches aside for only a moment and you were lucky to catch sight of the hidden wonders on the other side — when reaching the water’s edge was next to impossible because of the impenetrable wall of briars and poison.
Oh, there is no doubt that I love the new walking paths and strategically placed benches. They make MY visit a comfortable and pleasant experience, but there is also no doubt that their presence has forever altered the existence of at least some of what had found this little hidden ecosystem home. That, however, is a story for another day…
Instead, I want to share this beautiful place as I know it — in the Spring — when it is fresh and new and beginning to breathe again after the silence and still of Winter. When life is beginning to creep back into the earth and the push of nature is at its strongest.
And, what better way than with pictures…
After just a few days of warm Spring sunshine, the aquatic plant life begins to peek through the water’s surface.
When the sun is with us, about two weeks later.
The Sentries and the Sage!
Each of the Sentries would require three men to encircle with their arms and the Sage stands alone, a bit twisted from the years, but whispering of the things it has seen — if only we could be still and hear.
When I pass by this spot, my thoughts are immediately drawn to Alice, the White Rabbit, fairies — and snakes!
The variety of aquatic and plant life is a treat for the eyes all year long, but especially in Spring.
There are buttercups and fleabane, water iris and berry blooms, pickerel reed and bog lilies, violets and wild strawberry, just to name a few.
The duckweed is beginning its quest to cover every inch of water surface and there is cress in the places where running water feeds the reservoir.
And there is this — E-V-E-R-Y-W-H-E-R-E!!
While the plant life is beautiful and provides an ever-changing, theatrical display, it is the wildlife that provides the excitement and fascination.
Nestled inside these few acres is a whole world of wild things that come and go and make their lives in and around this body of water. It is an amazing gift to be able to experience the cycle of life up close and personal.
In the twenty-some years that we have lived in our current home, we have had the pleasure of seeing just about every animal that one would associate with wetland living. (still waiting on that bear, although they have been spotted locally)
My favorites are the turtles and frogs!
The Rezzie is home to several species of turtle, with the most prolific being the Midland Painted Turtle. There are thousands and they love to bask in the sunshine of Spring and Summer, taking advantage of any high point they can find to catch some rays. There are also mud turtles called “Stinkpots,” but they do not bask, and the occasional Box Turtle.
And then there are these…
And not just your regular run-of-the-mill Snappers, but the prehistoric, gigantic, hissing, able-to-run, take-a-hand-off variety. There are a few out there with shells that easily measure two feet or more and they are a sight to behold!
In the Springtime, like most creatures, they are on the prowl for a mate, which makes them even more ornery than usual. The pics below are actually TWO turtles because, well, it’s Spring. There’s a lot of hissing and flopping around going on but they seem to be enjoying themselves.
Spring is also the time for frogs to awaken from their Winter sleep. Bullfrogs croak when the weather warms and the Peepers serenading all night long, even before the last frost, is one of my favorite songs.
Enjoy this little gallery of a few more of the creatures that call this place home.
A few years ago on an early Thanksgiving morning, I was rather astonished to look out my kitchen window and find about fifteen or so individuals lined up along the trail, not 15 paces from my back shed, with binoculars trained directly at my house and cameras hanging from their necks with lenses a mile long — all of them! My first thought was, “okay, where are the kids and what are they doing?” After a head count, I realized that everyone was accounted for. So, WHAT are they looking at???
I waved. They didn’t wave back. I opened the back door. They didn’t look overly pleased. Weird… I invited them in for turkey. No, I did not do that.
Turns out that a few days prior, someone had discovered what was identified as a VERY rare bird — a MacGillivray’s Warbler, to be exact. Right there — in my own backyard! Over the next days and weeks, there was a steady stream of “birders” all vying for the opportunity to catch a glimpse. Funny thing is, I’m almost 100% certain I saw one just a few days ago while (of course) walking without my camera.
Of course, with the blessing of all that, comes the reality of all this!
(not my photo — or friend)
If there would be one single negative about living near a wetland, it would be this — the insects!
The mosquitoes and ticks are a nightmare — as in impossible to be anywhere outside during the warmer months without protection kind of nightmare. These are the kinds of mosquitoes that laugh out loud when you come at them with things like bug zapper lights, citronella, and lemon grass. These guys are hardcore and have been identified as carrying those diseases that we all fear for our families.
Because the acreage itself is a protected resource, there can be no spraying and, while a good thing for the environment, it’s a big problem for those of us who live here.
So, what’s our” saving grace?”
I might as well put in a plug while I’m on the subject — Bug Guard Plus! This is the ONLY thing we have found that works against the intense mosquito and tick problems here. If you want to learn more about it, click HERE.
All’s well, however. We work it out, the wild things and I. I always have snake tongs, a broom, and a hose close at hand for when the encroachment gets a little too intense. (and Bug Guard on every porch and patio, in the shop, and stashed in the garden beds!!)
If you were to follow this path during the weeks of Spring, these are some of the sights you would see — the emergence of green following the season of gray.
In the photo below, if you search intently, you will be able to see the rare and often elusive “Daughterus Teenagerus.”
What a privilege indeed!
Sometimes we talk about leaving this place — about moving somewhere more open and with fewer people, but then I walk “my” Rezzie and look up at skies like these.
And stumble on treasures like these.
And I know that I will never go, because these kinds of magical places that offer a glimpse into what is and what can be when we leave nature alone are becoming few and far between.
And, at the end of the day, I realize just how fortunate I am to be able to live alongside and share in the gift.
Thanks for walking with me!
He has made everything beautiful in its time. Ecclesiastes 3:11