Yesterday! An early summer field trip, deep into a swamp in Allendale County, South Carolina, not too far from the Savannah River. It was almost noon, and the mixed clouds made it quite pleasant, not hot at all. Up on the high ground, it was open and bright, but scrambling down the bluff onto the bottomland, the swamp was still dark, with a dense canopy overhead. Here and there, slanting sunbeams cut through the gloom and the golden spider webs, and occasional ghostly clouds of mist floated over the damp ground. It was easy walking around, due to low water, and we were far enough from any guts (or “sluices” as my hiking buddy likes to say) that there was no need to be wading. Rather, plenty of downed logs, some quite rotten, offered obstacles, along with thousands of bizarre, tortuous knees of the cypress and tupelos. One would think it would be a perfect day for snakes, but we didn’t see a single one. (On the other hand, it was a pretty good day for the deer flies, which were starting to get happy.) The swamp was quiet, too…except for the occasional scolding from a wren, and of course, the sweetly monotonous buzz of a cicada, philosophizing somewhere on a branch. There was a brilliant yellow swamp canary that flew up to inspect me, and then nervously vanished into the foliage. Occasional damsel flies danced through the sunbeams. A crawling millipede, a pale orange mushroom. A chewed-up crawfish. For all the life present in this setting, and for being surrounded by plants, there weren't many flowers to see. Except for this one.