A shaft of sunlight streaks across the shadowed surface of Cherry Run and illuminates the trunk of a bald cypress.
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Beaufort County, NC
Through the summer, Cheery Run remains shadowed beneath the canopy of cypress, tupelo, and the occasional white cedar. Rattan and cross-vine scale the trees while leatherwood, poison sumac, and swamp rose occupy the understory.
Belted kingfishers and blue heron fish the creek; wild turkey roost in the high branches overhead.
Cherry Run is a classic blackwater creek, but it isn’t black. In the sunlight, it’s more the color of strong tea, but the sun doesn’t penetrate more than a few feet below its surface. It’s stained by tannic acid released by vegetation rotting in the water. Since the land is so flat, there’s little current to flush the vegetation downstream.
Despite the suggestion of rot, the water is surprisingly clean of the organisms that might make a person sick, mostly because of the high acidity. In the Age of Sail when freshwater was stored in wooden casks for long ocean passages, sailors preferred water drawn from the Great Dismal Swamp. It stayed fresh longer.
Swamps are rarely considered romantic. They’re wet, buggy places weighted with our cultural baggage. In the psychogeography of imagination, a swamp is a place both fearful and alluring, fecund and chaotic, a peripheral place, a refuge for outcasts, outlaws, and monsters.
It is also a surprisingly beautiful place.
$50.65 – $164.40
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