Ecotone… a transitional area of vegetation between two different plant communities… - Encyclopedia Britannica
Sunrise tinges the edge
where marsh meets sky,
land meets water, night meets day
and life meets death.
Among predators bearing tooth and claw,
I feel at home in this place.
I gather meals among the sedge.
We hunt and eat along the edge.
My paddle bumps gunwales,
pulls up insect eating bladderwort.
Half-digested bugs are black specks captured
when the plant’s translucent bubbles implode.
Sundew leaves radiate on stalks
like the orb, the spider’s web.
Red and green leaves stretch outward.
Sticky hairs ensnare flying food.
Pitcher plant leaves curl into vases.
Half filled with water they drown
flies trapped by downward pointing hairs
slowly digest their prey for minerals.
Fingerlings and dragonfly nymphs
swim among the maple roots.
Feed on mosquito larvae.
Feed the perch I catch for dinner.
The maple swamp is green
this spring day as bud scales
open to release tiny red flowers.
They offset green leaves
as will the red fruits I once called
helicopters and dropped to watch
the wings spin but give no lift,
except on windy days.
Blue Jays call from branches,
grab nestlings and eggs for lunch.
Red crested woodpecker
drills a snag for ants.
Green leaves prepare
to turn red in fall;
gather warm thin sun
make sugars to feed the tree.
Today I cruise the marsh
among fertile fronds of ferns.
dislodge the red brown spores
which give cinnamon fern its name.
Land barely wet, barely on
the edge where sterile fronds
grab sunbeams, make food in
leaves that are not leaves at all.
A month ago they curled,
fiddle heads like knobs on violins
above the swampy ground
home to snakes and frogs.
Cleaning the day’s catch by the fire
I contemplate herons. Like
spectacled scholars they stand,
beaks waiting along the edge.
Like old men they lift knees high,
put feet carefully down.
Better fishers than I, they impale
fish, snakes and frogs.