Dry flood?
Droughts can be deceptive

Can you have a drought …

In the middle of a flood?

Let alone in the swamp’s deepest spot?

Below are two photo points that may finally settle the question, one (left) immediately following Tropical Storm Eta and another (right) at the same spot about 10 weeks later.

The photos reveal two major differences:

(1) The water is a foot lower in the one on the right. You can see that by the line of water up against the cypress knees in the foreground.

(2) The hue of the photos is the second major difference. Yes, variable sunlight may play a role and the fact that I used a camera for one and my phone for the other also factors in, but the bigger reason is that the copious canopy of resurrection fern on the craggily pond apple branches – so lush and green on the photo on the left – has shriveled and turned brown in the photo on the right.

Here’s a closer look:

But don’t worry about the resurrection fern.

A splash of rain water will green them up.

My point is that the swamp is still very wet, particularly at this spot, as indicated by the hydrograph that shows the current level, although having dropped a solid foot, is still perched up at levels more typical for the September-October “peak water” season. Current water levels are 3/4ths a foot above normal late January conditions and a whopping 1.25 feet above late January of last year.

Hydrograph from the dome where I took the photos

So yes, it’s wet out in the swamp.

Just don’t tell that to the resurrection fern. Up in the branches, it’s a drought for them. Or to paraphrase Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner: “water water everywhere … nor any drop to drink.”

Floods and droughts co-exist quite well (and often) in the swamp.

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