Sounds of the Swamp

By Mike Johnson

Iím balancing on fallen trees, creeping 50 feet out into the swamp.
Scattered cattails surround my position, randomly exposing small pools of clear water, spotted with green algae.
I look for mud turtle heads. And tadpoles. And minnows. And the occasional larger fish.

I do all this from my desk, despite it snowing outside. Iím listening to a loop of recorded Red-Winged Blackbird song.

This, more than anything, transports me right back to that childhood swamp.

Without waiting for summer. Without the thousand mile drive.

If I want to amp up the experience, I call up a few photos Iíve taken of the place.

A map calls it Hannon Lake, but we never knew that name as kids. It was always just ďThe Swamp Behind the Church.Ē

Out of 12 years living in the area, I bet I spent six solid months playing at that swamp.

As kids, we didnít fully realize nature caused tranquility. We just knew it felt good to go there.

As adults, weíve learned that if aware, we can purposely leverage nature to calm our minds at will.

Your calm place might not be a swamp. But itís something.

In todayís world, itís easy to get there, without ever leaving your mind.

Visit often.



34 Minutes of Red-Winged Blackbird Song

Toads & Salamanders


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