General Non-Fiction posted February 16, 2016

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The Swamp

by prettybluebirds

My siblings and I loved to play in the swamp located a half mile from my dad's farm. It was a lovely, and to us kids, mysterious place.

Where we entered the swamp there was a deep gully where an underground stream came gushing out of the ground; a natural flowing well. It was the coldest, sweetest water I have ever drunk and very welcome after the long walk to get there.

In the spring, we picked pails of Morel mushrooms along the top and sides of the gully. Mother would join us on those occasions and sometimes go with us into the swamp to find the old snapping turtle that lived in a remote pond far back in the woods. We named him Mossy Moses and he was huge. Dad came with us once to look at old Moses and told us the turtle was probably well over a hundred years old. That turtle was three feet across his shell and must have weighed well over a hundred pounds. Dad figured closer to a hundred and fifty. If one poked a stick at Moses he was quick to snap it in two. Us kids had a good healthy respect for Moses and kept our distance from him.

It was beautiful in the interior of the swamp. The stream from the flowing well ran all the way through the woods and formed ponds throughout the entire area. Some spots were too boggy to walk in, but most of the ground was solid and we did so love to play our made up games under the cool trees.

In the spring, Mom would send us to the swamp to gather Watercress from the stream. If it is cut before it blooms Watercress makes a tasty salad. If it is cut too late it is extremely bitter. However, in full bloom, Watercress is a sight to behold. I wish I could paint you a picture of the Watercress blooming in that dark swamp. All that bright gold color filling the stream and ponds; even as a child, the beauty filled me with awe.

The trees that made up the swamp were mostly pine trees. If I remember correctly, dad called them Cypress trees. Whatever, there was always that wonderful combination of pine and damp earth smell. I can recall it to this day; that smell and the pine needles making a soft cushion underfoot. How I loved that old swamp.

Another thing was the fact that there was very little undergrowth beneath the trees. It was like entering a different world. My girlfriend and I could easily imagine fairies and wood nymphs living in the hollow trees and under the rocks. It was a magical place for two little girls with vivid imaginations. We spent many a happy hour playing with our imaginary friends.

Now over sixty years have passed since last I played in that beautiful place. I went back about ten years ago to see if the old swamp was still there. I wish I hadn't gone.

There is a four- lane highway square through the middle of the swamp. The gully with the flowing well is all filled in and most of the woods have been cut down. The swamp no longer exists. One of the best Morel Mushroom picking places in the country has been destroyed along with all the Cypress trees and all the irreplaceable beauty. I wonder whatever happened to that ancient turtle old Mossy Moses? Most likely Moses is dead along with his home. I will always remember that beautiful swamp and old Mossy Moses.

Sense of Place Short Story writing prompt entry
Writing Prompt
Write a 400 to 700 word essay describing a place. This should be a descriptive short story, make sure you describe the place very well. This place you are describing can not be a place in your imagination, dreams, ext. It has to be a real place, preferably a place you know very well. You do not have to have been to this place, and this can be a made up story. Be creative and descriptive!


I didn't get the ducks into my story but we used to see a lot of them in the swamp. I am grateful to GaliaG for the lovely picture of the duck. It is such a shame that beautiful spots like the Swamp must be destroyed for progress.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

Artwork by GaliaG at

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