21 de novembro de 2021

Big Oak Tree State Park

Visited a special place today. An isolated but very old forest, a state park, Big Oak Tree State Park to be exact. Just over 1,029 acres is all that remains of a forest and swampland that used to cover millions of squares miles centuries ago. And up until the late 19th and early 20 century, covered much of what is known locally as the 'bootheel' of Missouri.

But this place isn't just special because it's ancient. It's also special because it's almost UNTOUCHED by man's influence. Aside from the metal boardwalk, a handful of structures, an aluminum can and a small parking lot at entrance, I initially saw no evidence of man during my brief journey through this forest. And I'm including the possible introduction of foreign plant species when I say this.

Some parks and preserves have a hook to attract tourists, Journey Back Through Time! or Come See How Things Once Were! or something along those lines. But when I get there I can't help but notice there is a thicket of Chinese Privet in the distance. Or long vines of Japanese Honeysuckle sprawled over the forest floor. Whole patches of Beefsteak Plants along the trail. Or a random Callery Pear tree taking up precious sunlight. Or gods forbid Kudzu vines ANYWHERE. I can go on and on with this, I can copy/paste a bloody list but I'm not going to.

Those plants are signs of man's influence, those plants shouldn't be on this continent, let alone this locality and that's why they shatter the illusion of returning to a time that has long passed. I've been conditioned to see out-of-place things. And when I came here, to Big Oak Tree State Park, nothing seemed out of place at first and it was not from a lack of trying. Dare I say it truly felt like I ventured backwards. I could shoot a photo in all directions and each frame will contain 100% native flora. Until today, that's never happened before.

After a time, though, I came to the point when I stopped looking for things that shouldn't be here and began thinking of the things that should be here. Things like the Carolina Parakeet that should be feeding in the tops of the mighty Bald Cypress trees. Or the giant Ivory-billed Woodpeckers that should be drilling away on a branch of the many towering oaks and the barkless trunks of the dead growth. Or having them all drowned out by the deafening noise and wing flaps of thousands of Passenger Pigeons overhead. And that's where man's influence reared it's head. The ecosystem here has holes of various sizes in it...

Publicado em 21 de novembro de 2021, 04:41 AM por jhousephotos jhousephotos | 7 observações | 0 comentários | Deixar um comentário