Per the ancient lore, part 35

cattail bullrush Typha reflection in drainage channel
This week we return to the Leaves/Plants/Trees folder, a little abstract reflective image taken in the drainage channel behind the apartment complex where I lived while in Florida. I have to note that drainage channels in Florida are the size of some shipping canals in other countries, primarily because Florida decided very early on that it held nothing but disdain for the drizzly, off-and-on rain showers that many other states practiced. When it rains in The Sunshine State (which is nearly every afternoon in the summer,) it does so with a demonstration of efficiency that is breathtaking. Water has to be delivered and there’s no time to waste, so the goal is to be done with it all within seven minutes, and often it only takes three. The dam bursts and it hammers down, then stops and the sun comes back out again in moments, and if you happen to have gotten caught in it, relax, because you’ll be dry again in 20 minutes or so. And I say this knowing that you think I’m exaggerating…

But anyway, to accommodate such deluges, the ‘ditches’ that are provided are usually deep and voluminous – so much so that the one in front of the complex, by the roadside, was two meters deep and housed non-too-small turtles all year round. Mind you, the water wasn’t that deep, more along the lines of 10-20 centimeters, but the capacity was there. Out back, the channel was even larger, easily capable of handling a small boat, and I never did determine how deep it was.

[I will also note that many of these channels were created to actually maintain large patches of dry land, since Florida is prone to swamps and wetlands and marshes, not the most inviting of geography for housing developments. The solution is the cut deep drains for the water and use the soil from those cuts to raise and level out the land more, and it largely works.]

On the same day that this was taken, I happened across a Florida gar (Lepisosteus platyrhincus) lying in the grass near the channel – rather curiously, when I thought about it.

Florida gar Lepisosteus platyrhincus lying in grass alongside drainage channel
Somewhere around 50-60 cm in length, it was still alive, and not far from the water but not immediately alongside it either, with the surface being some 2 meters away laterally and one beneath it. I initially suspected that it had been caught by a fisherman and left there, but there was no visible hook injury and it seemed odd that, if an unwanted catch, it would be discarded there and not simply tossed back in. But it also seemed like a good distance to have jumped on its own accord. We had otters that foraged in the area, and of course countless wading birds, but again, no visible injuries. Eyeing those teeth warily, I picked it up and tossed it back into the channel.

And I have to note, when I remembered this image and had to go back and find it in the Aquatic folder, that I had to go much further down in the list than I had for the cattails that were taken on the same day, because between the river visits and the aquarium that I maintained, I have a disproportionate number of aquatic subjects over the vegetational, at least during that period in my life. I suppose I should try to maintain a more balanced diet of photographic subjects…

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