Bog vs. Life

Last Spring, Liev took Wednesdays off from kindergarten. His therapeutically shortened schedule gave him a much-needed rest from the intensity of school. It also gave us time to pursue activities we would not engage in on the weekend due to crowds!.

During an unseasonably warm day in March, we took a trip to Ponemah Bog. The wildlife sanctuary features carnivorous plants and beautiful birds.

We started our excursion with Liev ‘s usual obsessiveness over poison ivy. I fielded poison ivy questions all morning before realizing his real apprehension was over the expanse of elevated planks we had to walk across to reach the floating viewing platforms.

Fortunately, the local kids had provided us with the best anti-anxiety tool ever: graffiti.


The picnic tables near the trailhead featured messages from two individuals who wrote out the number of steps to each viewing platform. This super-charged Liev for the walk. Along the trail, faded purple sharpie counted the steps by 50s. For Liev, this was better than candy. He hurtled down the planks with alarming speed and agility.


I breathed in thick air, which smelled of a floral scent best described as Herbal Essence Shampoo. I assumed the lurid green shampoo’s fragrance was entirely synthetic—my mother bought it for me to use as a bubble bath in the 70s. To be surrounded by this distinct fragrance in the bog was surreal.

Thrilled with the step countdown, Liev hopped and hollered, “Take the picture! Take the picture! Please!”   I snapped dozens of countdown markers photos. We eventually reached an intersection. The graffiti artists had left a message for us:


I laughed at their wry humor and contemplated their inscription as I followed T’s bobbing form to the first platform.  I took more photographs and pondered the bog around me.

Beyond the planked walkways plants squeezed together, forming a thick fecund carpet. The jostling of fluted, curling leaves was almost audible. I had the unsettling impression that if I sliced a swath into the roiling plant life, it would heal itself seamlessly before my eyes.


How improbable that this odd carnivorous forest thrived less than ten minutes from our home. I thought of the graffiti artists and imagined them as kindred spirits. Young enough to enjoy the countdown numbers as much as Liev, they were also old enough to appreciate the allure of the wetlands.




Which path to take? A part of me never wanted to step away from this un-manicured crush of strange and colorful plants.

I am grateful to past generations for valuing and preserving beautiful places. I am also grateful to the graffiti artists. By sharing their quirky map, they fed two hungry and eager brains with numbers and introspection.

17 thoughts on “Bog vs. Life

    1. So true! I grew up near Juarez, Mexico and the urban artists they produce are amazing. I don’t think they receive much acclaim, but lots of respect from their peers.

  1. The bog life! For as much walking that I do, I probably do twice the amount of time as a swamp sitter. Well, used to. Now I have my own wetlands as my back yard. I also notice that not many people realise the treasures so close to their home. While most of this city I am exploring now is pub and drink driven . . . I’ve had a nice sit outside watching the bats navigate through palm trees, tall buildings and teetering crowds. This blog was a pure pleasure to read!

    1. Thank you so much for the encouragement. It feels good to have someone appreciate a post! 🙂

      I grew up in the desert and bumped across many dirt roads, less for walking, more for rock collecting. Moving to New England has been wonderful. I am still dazzled by all the life. If you blink, algea and moss creep up your house. Astounding.

      I wish I had the courage to be an urban explorer, especially in the digital age. I’d have lots of photos of rust and peeling paint, for sure!


  2. wonderful! We have the same bug habitat Tyoma is holding in the picture and have done our fair share of bog visits too. I am so thrilled that my kids special interests are things I love to explore too. Beautiful post, my friend.

    1. I appreciate the visit and comment! I guess we both shop at Target, eh? I praise the genius that made these little habitats affordabel. We are growing a moth as I write. When a child loves nature, it lightens the spirit. The outdoors has been my one enduring and consistant love. Thanks! 🙂

    1. Wow! We are on the same wavelength! I have been thinking those things as well! I like to imagine that they were older versions of my son, playful and number-loving. I wondered how I could let them know how they reached us, but alas! I could think of nothing short of leaving them sharpie notes on the plywood. My conservative middle-aged self was too freaked out to follow up on this. Thank you for visiting with me and taking the time to leave me a comment! 🙂


  3. Woot! What a jolly post to read. I totally felt like I was with both you. Lovely plant life I wish I could have really been there.

    555!! One of my favorite numbers! It carries several meaningful memories for me. Yay! Number happy me. The graffiti artists just touched me in a a wonderful way through your pictures and lovely writing. I chose “boggy life.” Mesh them together and frolic in jollity. Yippie!

    1. What a jolly comment to read! Your enthusiasm radiates from my computer screen. I have the urge to frolic, there, anywhere. Frolic. That’s today’s word! Some words describe, no seize an activity so well!

      Thank you for spreading your cheer! 🙂

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