Yesterday was cloudy and rainy in the morning so we waited until afternoon to go check out the heron rookery along the Port Royal Cypress Wetlands Trail.
Wetlands is apparently the new-fangled name for what used to be called a swamp.
The flowers are pink azaleas, which are spectacular this year.
Bald cypress are some of the oldest trees in America. There are some in the water near Mobile, Alabama that can't even be carbon dated because they are older than 50,000 years!
At their base they have these knobby projections that are called knees, cypress knees.
Scientists aren't quite sure of their function but they may serve to anchor the trees in the soft, muddy soil.
In the 1950s lamps made from cypress knees were considered fashionable home decor. My parents brought home a knee from their first trip to Florida and I was fascinated with it, especially its name. I'd never seen a bald cypress tree so I pictured the tree as having legs with knees and ankles instead of a trunk. No one enlightened me so I happily kept this fanciful notion until I was a lot older.
I think my dad did make a lamp from the one they brought home, or maybe it just sat around au naturel on the fireplace mantle or something.
This one is for sale on Etsy as a "vintage" item for $162. Knowing my dad, I'm sure he didn't pay more than $2 for our cypress knee.
I'll show you the main event we came for, the rookery, in my next post.