Last week I had the opportunity to take a fly fishing expedition with some friends to the Delta of the Mississippi River; the place where the river ends. Before I set out on this adventure, when I thought of the great salt marsh I thought of Hurricane Katrina, the Dead Zone, and the Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill.

As we fly fished it became apparent this epic maze of shallow pools lined with canes and grasses, was absolutely teeming with life.  The water boiled with baitfish, and there were always birds nearby.  The diversity was increased by the presence of both saltwater and freshwater species.  Sharks and alligators, crabs and carp, gar and stingrays were common sightings.

By all rights, the delta could be a National Park.  The natural beauty, however, was dramatically dissected by “Mad Max” scenes of pipelines, canals, barges and refineries.  It was surreal to boat through the morning twilight  into a false sunrise created by the roaring flare towers of the refineries on shore.

One the ride home, I caught an article in the Huffington Post about a group of scientists meeting to discuss declaring a change of Epoch which would declare one chapter of the earth’s history closed, and another open.  The proposal would close the Eocene, and open the Anthropocene–the age of human impact.  My visit to the great salt marsh would surely support that change.  Nothing was untouched by the activities of man. The resiliency of the marsh and its abundant life, however, leaves me hopeful.

And the fishing was good too.

Mike

 

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