Friday, March 04, 2011

Pneumatophores


And back there, on the sunset side of the island, it’s a different story.

Here, in the east, we face a deep tongue of the ocean. Just a half-mile off shore, beyond the fringing reef, turquoise water gives way to deep blue and plunges deep. The prevailing wind -- those balmy zephyrs -- in our face. On the west side of the island the Bahama Bank, a hundred miles of water almost shallow enough to walk across from one side to the other. At low tide one can wade far enough from shore to feel like you've left the solid ground behind. Water the color of sunlight, sea and sand. With hardly a ripple to lap your knees.

And here, following behind me on a retreating tide, a mangrove marching on spindly legs, its green bonnet soaking up sun. Legs just long enough to keep its head above water when the tide returns.

Ah, life. That imperative of living protoplasm to occupy every available niche. To fill to overflowing. No easy trick for a land plant to survive in salt water, in anaerobic "soil". Natural selection had some work to do. But lots of time.

That imperative to occupy every niche. Human have it too. And mangroves, unfortunately, here in the Bahamas, as elsewhere, occupy the same touristic niche developers want to occupy. The little guy in the pic above better keep moving. The bulldozers are not far behind.