I’m still not used to this. Arizona has plants, yes, and there are times of the year when there are more of them than at other times, but most places don’t get completely overwhelmed. In the Pacific Northwest, it very nearly gets menacing. I remember coming back here from the long Arizona trip we took in 2009, and feeling actually claustrophobic driving down my little road. Green growing shit pressed in on all sides, rather seeming as though it would pounce. It frightened me.
And then winter comes, and it dies back. It’s never really brown here. There’s always a wide selection of evergreens justifying Seattle’s nickname. It really is the Emerald City. But you can sometimes see patches of ground, the woods aren’t impenetrable, and you can walk through a wetland and see further than a foot.
I’ve done North Creek Park twice this year: once in April, and again just yesterday. The difference two months makes is rather astonishing.
For one thing, you can see the boardwalks in April.
Not so much in June.
Stuff’s taller than I am. I hear they cut it back several times a year, and really, they’d have to. Otherwise, people would get lost until November. And yeah, you could probably live on frogs and garter snakes and muskrats, but you couldn’t burn anything, so they’d be all raw.
At least you’d have plenty of water.
Speaking of water, there’s a peat bog pond. It’s quite the little draw, has its own path and everything.
So what happens when you press through the thick grass choking the trail and come to the end in June?
Yeah, well, it’s out there somewhere. One of the folks who was sharing the park with us said they’d cut back the vegetation recently so people could see the pond. The vegetation was not impressed with their efforts.
There are all sorts of streams and ponds in the wetlands. You can see them clearly in April.
By June, only the largest are visible, and even then, not very.
There’s another side trail that goes off to a beaver dam thingy. In April, you can just about see it.
In June, Nature says, “Ha ha ha – no.”
The vegetation does get vigorous round here.
It’s utterly lovely, though. There are flowers twining through the marsh grasses, and birds singing absolutely everywhere, and the rustle of wind through reeds. In April, things still felt a bit bleh, what with all the patches of dead vegetation. It wasn’t exactly depressing, but it was a bit somber. In June, everything’s bursting with joie de vivre. It’s cheerful and charming, and probably other things beginning with c that lead one to grin madly for no reason.
But there’s another c word associated with the wetlands, and that is: caution. If you’ve got snake phobias, you probably shouldn’t go. We saw two garter snakes on the boardwalks, and considering you can’t see them very far in advance, I imagine it could get a little nerve-wracking for those who don’t like crawly things. Still. Wonderful, wet, wild, and other words beginning with the letter w, snakes aside. Besides, there’s an important p word missing there. Garters aren’t poisonous. So if you’re phobic about snakes, but only the poisonous ones, do not let snakes hold you back.
When the grasses threaten to swallow you completely, just remind them the mower man cometh. Eventually. Have fun looking for Dr. Livingstone in the meantime. He’s probably hidden in there somewhere…