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The Swamp

By Jim Davis

A small river ran along the high red bluff on the south edge of my home-town. Actually it was a creek, at least in the summer. Sometimes in the spring it rose to prominence of a true river with ice floes, logs and other flotsam (a visually inspired word, better than etc.). No matter the season locals called it a crick. Before the crick got its manners straightened out by the bluff, it had meandered around, seemingly with no sense of direction or which way was down. In one of these circuitous ramblings it formed a large ox-bow bend which it later by-passed and left as a swamp. The muddy bottom of the swamp was the ideal bed for cattails and a plethora of critters which lived in the layers of pubescent peat which had aspirations of becoming coal. This was The Swamp, later known by intellectuals as "wet-lands", a name which was supposed to give it some degree of respectability and made it eligible for a Federal grant.

A wide range of critters lived in the swamp, the muskrat being the largest in physical size, although often challenged in bravado by much smaller things such as snakes, toads, mice and the occasional bottom-feeder sucker who swam in under the rotting reeds looking for a meal. Even smaller were the snails, slugs and other members of the slime group of animals. The slugs had a thirst for beer and sometimes would drown in the dregs left in carelessly thrown beer cans.

Bull-frogs took it upon themselves to be the voice of the swamp in the spring season and left the other swamp residents rather cranky after a night of bull-shouting. Crickets added to the nocturnal din but they had an important job - keeping track of the temperature. There was a formula - so many cricket clicks per minute divided by something equaled the temperature which sometimes was repeated by the bull-shouting frogs and a local radio station. The snakes would pitch in as well but the hissing was drowned out by the cricket clicking and the bull-shouting.

A scientist from the University did a study on the swamp when it was being proposed as a "Protected Area", which never happened because the researcher lost his notebook when he got sucked in by quicksand. He was rescued ok but lost his boots and pants when the volunteer firemen pulled him out. He later wrote a paper which stated that the slugs actually had a louder voice than the bull-frogs but that their range was below that of our normal hearing.

During the International Frog Shortage a few years back the frogs were as lively as ever and thought the hoopla was all a lot of bull-shªªout.

Note: The preceding article may contain bits of uncertain truth. - Jim Davis

DREGS Announces the 2017-2018
Distinguished Lecturer
Dr. William A. "Bill" Rehrig

"New Discoveries, New Questions - 60 Years in Exploration Geology"

May 14, 2018 - DREGS monthly meeting
7:00 p.m., with refreshments at 6:00 p.m.

Open to DREGS members, guests and interested friends
Berthoud Hall - BH241
Colorado School of Mines

Refreshments graciously are being sponsored by:
Brooks and Nelson, Executive Recruiters


The DREGS collection of memoirs from this page can be found at www.dregs.org/memoirs.html