Friday, June 27, 2014

Swamp Bliss

Today was the first official day of summer vacation, which is possibly the best day of the whole year! Nothing compares to completing the school year and having a sprawling summer ahead. Last night, I watched the extraordinary firefly show in our back yard and asked myself, "What should I be doing right now?" The answer? Watching the fireflies! What a great feeling.

After a year of tremendous gravity, my mission for the summer is to lighten up in every way possible - and to feel good every step of the way. I want to let go of anything that does not serve me. The time is right, and I am motivated!

After taking a walk with my husband this morning, I was torn between photographing roses at the Yaddo gardens and photographing water lilies in the swamp located within a wildlife sanctuary next to the river.

It's been a while since I've photographed water lilies - mostly because of the boat traffic from the PCB dredging taking place on the river for the past two years. It's difficult to achieve clear, sharp images if there's any movement on the water.

Last weekend, my husband and I passed by the swamp on our usual walking route, and I noticed it was filled with water lilies in bloom. Later that day, I tried to do my "work" work but realized I wouldn't be able to accomplish anything until I explored the swamp for the first time ever. Going into the swamp had never occurred to me until then!

My ex-husband used to talk about how much he loved swamps when he was younger, and I never understood why. But now I get it! There is so much going on in a swamp! Water lilies, dragonflies, and great blue herons, to name a few! I took the following shot from a considerable distance and had no idea that a dragonfly had touched down on the water lily I was photographing until I got back home and zoomed in!

It seems I find something new to fall in love with in nature every day of the year, but water lilies (and waterfalls) are right at the top of the list. Needless to say, the water lilies won my heart today, so I made my second, more leisurely, trip to the swamp. Oh, it was so peaceful! Here are some of my favorite images (minus the soothing sounds that accompanied them). Take a moment to sit with these images and feel the peace!

When I pulled my kayak out of the swamp, an older man was waiting to greet me. He worked for the Nature Conservancy and was just about to have lunch en route to an osprey nest. He asked if I had seen any herons, and I was excited to report that I did. He told me about other wildlife that lives in the wetland, including otters, muskrats, beavers, mink, and more. He was a wealth of information and cautioned me never to pick up a dragonfly nymph because their mandibles are very strong, and their bites hurt! I was so glad to run into him and to learn more about the wetland ecosystem - and to know that my presence in the swamp was encouraged!

When I set out this morning, my intention was to have it be my final time visiting the swamp. But those water lilies are irresistible. And there are otters...

The photographs in this blog and in my Flickr photostream are available for purchase as prints or cards through my Etsy shop by selecting a "custom print" in whatever size you prefer and indicating either the name of the print or the blog post and order in which it appears. 

© Susan Meyer and River Bliss Photography, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material, including all text and photos, without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Susan Meyer and River Bliss Photography ( with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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