North Carolina’s coastal plain is changing as the earth warms. Southern species are migrating north – Chimney swifts and Missippi kites, Seminole bats and pygmy shrews, rainbow snakes and spotted salamanders. Plants are changing with the longer growing season – earlier springs and more mild winters. Rivers are changing too with more frequent flooding – channels shifting, banks eroding, heavier loads of sediment creating new shoals and bars. The increased size of rivers threatens the riverbank forests, some of the most pristine on the coastal plain.
Certainly, change is an unavoidable characteristic of life. It’s how life evolves…until the speed of change itself becomes deadly.
I doubt it’s possible to hold back the deluge of change that’s coming. The forces we’ve set in motion are now beyond our control. Maybe they never were any more than we were in control f ourselves. But there is still time to stand witness to the beauty of the wetlands before they become something else.
Perhaps it will become something equally beautiful but I will miss the delicacy of the light among the cypress and tupelo, resting light as dew on the wild company of grasses.
I think this is one of my favorite photos of a favorite place. It isn’t dramatic. It doesn’t tell a bold story but it captures the immediate while suggesting so much more. There is both wildness and intimacy in a single frame, new life and old, sunlight and shadow. It’s not a place many people will ever see except in a photograph. Sometime soon it may be gone forever.
I think my purpose is to stand witness to the beauty as it passes.