“Others will see the islands large and small; … A hundred years hence, or ever so many hundred years hence, others will see them …” “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” Walt Whitman
“Time Irresolute, Tummond’s Bog ”
This scene of mallards flushing over a beaver lodge is at once iconic and timeless but imminently precarious. Imagine a world devoid of these creatures and the everyday quotidian beauty of the landscape.
Sunday (Feb. 19), Kate and I were visiting Tummond’s bog, a little known wetland in Mantua, Ohio, when mallards exploded over a beaver lodge at the west end of the marsh. It was the same location and scene we might have experienced 11,000 years ago with the end of the Pleistocene era as Ohio’s last glacier receded leaving eskers and kames behind to delineate the wetland, effectively arresting it in time. Pin oaks, white oaks, beech and shagbark hickory trace the slopes to the water where rush and sedge frame nesting areas for waterfowl and supply material and food for beaver lodges – a remarkable ecosystem, symbiotic, self-sustaining yet fragile.
Oscar Bruggman Sand & Gravel, a privately owned, local company, is strip mining the wetland’s contiguous boundaries first removing surface vegetation (trees and brush), then topsoil and eventually the gravel to be sold. The mining impact to the hydrology, water chemistry, soil acidity, the underground aquifer, wildlife and myriad other critical components of this natural system presents an imminent existential crisis.