Monday, May 21, 2012

How I Found the Lady's Slipper

I was sinking slowly in black muck springs; up to my calves in my twelve-and-a-halves. I had already captured some photos of Cinnamon Fern:

And Buttercup:

But look too long through the lens, and the wetland will want to claim you. As I was tugging my right foot out, I felt and heard that familiar sucking sound that anglers, duck hunters and all swampwalkers recognize. The sudden release caused me to lurch, landing on a wobbly tussock too small for my big feet.

I'm sorry that I cannot combine: knee boots, graceful, and soupy muck into a believable sentence for you. But at that moment, a couple about my age approached, walking comfortably, at a good pace, on the elevated boardwalk.

They greeted me with a pleasant "Good morning", as if swampwalkers were a frequent sighting for them. Regaining a semblance of balance, I good-morning-ed them back.

"If you're a photographer," the woman said, "you should see the Pink Lady's Slippers." I climbed the support timbers, and pulled myself up to their level. While straddling the steel hand-rail, my wide boot got wedged between the steel vertical rails. The man helped me out of my predicament by nudging my foot free. I completed my hop onto the boardwalk and introduced myself. They had never heard of Father Nature before, only the legendary Mother.

So, it was Ron and Lois who explained in precise detail where to find the famous slippers. They said they walk that particular trail often, and haven't seen these orchids flowering in about five years. I have run that hilly trail through the Red Pines several times, but usually in the cool weather of autumn.

Since we were all retired, we had time to talk for awhile. They were very kind, courteous, and friendly. I could tell they loved to walk together, in quiet, natural settings. Ron and Lois, I thank you again, publicly this time, for the opportunity to observe the orchids.

Was this serendipity? No, I believe God brought us together at that place, at that time. Thank you God, for setting up the "meeting", and thank you for creating Pink Lady's Slippers.

I hope you enjoy these images.

You know who to thank.

Scattered in their habitat.

"Young Lady" in Red Pine needles.

(Click on any photo to enlarge)

Photo Location: Townsend Park, (Townsend Park)  Kent County,   Michigan