The Cypress Swamp

An article by David Brooks on October 21, 2008


Cypress swamp

I first encountered a Cypress swamp about three years ago when I visited Mississippi for the first time. Being from Michigan I couldn’t grasp the concept at hand ࢅ these really old trees were growing in the middle of a swamp where the water was apparently stagnant. Yet somehow, it promoted growth. In Michigan if that happens things die and deteriorate.

Apparently it’s different in Mississippi. These trees have been around for hundreds of years. The water is also home to frogs, fish and alligators. You might think that it smells terrible, but it really doesn’t. There are, however, a lot of mosquitoes.

An old tree in the swamp, with a hole in the bottom

In contrast to the area around the swamps the trees grow further apart, allowing more light to reach the swamp. Across the road the forest had grown so dense that unless the light was shining almost straight down it was difficult to see in the evening hours.

On the top of the water the algae and sediments rest and can almost look like a solid surface. Without the wind everything was still for us, that was until my nephews threw rocks to disturb the water.

Cypress swamp at golden light

Though I was disappointed that for the second time I had not seen an alligator I did see some wildlife. Mostly there were small things such as mosquitoes, squirrels, herons and frogs. I also saw a very large spider, which for once I passed on the opportunity to shoot because of light restrictions… and the fact that I was trying to get it off my nephew’s foot before he noticed or was bitten.

Thousands of tiny spiders on a nest

One of my nephews came across the same spider’s nest, which had recently released thousands of baby spiders that still lived on the web. The creepiness of the concept didn’t hit me until I was actually reviewing these photos. Only a few of the spiders are actually in focus, due to the multi-layered web. Even those in focus are hard to see.


I noticed these mushrooms growing around the tree, but at a second glance they were also growing inside the tree. This concept was new to me as well.

Mushrooms growing inside the tree

Fading light at the Cypress swamp

After our walk around the swamp we returned to the car and started the drive home. Though the light had left the Cypress swamp the sun had not fully set, allowing me to take photos of the sunset over the reservoir.

A sunset over the reservoir

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About David Brooks

David Brooks is the owner of the small creative studio, Northward Compass, based out of Orlando, Florida. He writes electronic and ambient music as Light The Deep, and fantasy stories about a place called Elerien.

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