Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A True Hoosier Safari

In Indiana State Parks the trails are rated from Easy to Rugged. Rarely are the trails truly rugged in comparison to some of the trails in the Eastern or Western U.S. Rugged in Indiana's definition is a steep hill while the path is clean as a city street; albeit unpaved.

After a couple of weeks of no fishing, I was desperate to sink my line into any body of water. Unfortunately when I arrived at one of my favorite fishing spots I was greeted with "closed until further notice signs." A couple of weeks ago a wind of significant proportions had gone through the area. The wind didn't qualify as a tornado and didn't do much damage to human habitation other than take down power lines. But, wow, the damage that it did to trees was unbelievable. Hundreds of very old trees just uprooted in a mile wide, miles long area. This managed to close the public fishing area I occasionally go to fish and photograph wildlife.

Not usually one to break rules, I nevertheless felt that the rules were unfair in this instance. There are no power lines running next to the hiking paths. There were a number of downed trees; but they were already down. I could taste the fish. I decided to turn renegade for the day. (What would Sarah Palin do?)

The damage the storm did to the area was stupendous. Trees, sometimes three or four at a time were torn out of the ground, roots and all. I came across a dead fawn; crushed and broken. I wondered at the number of bird nests lost in the fallen trees. Even the mosquitoes seemed stunned.

But life goes on. Wildflowers don't wait to bloom. Dragonflies are still emerging. The herons are enjoying a golden time without human foot traffic. And the frogs are finally catching up with the mosquito population. Thousands of tiny frogs, no bigger than a pinkie fingernail, have formed; an army hopping against the bug population. Despite tragedy, nature marches on.      


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