Along the Soo Line Trail lives a pristine floating bog. It has been there for nearly 10,000 years.
It may seem insignificant. There are no tall majestic oaks, just straggly old tamarack, black spruce, bog birch ... The soil isn’t fertile. It consists of peat and sphagnum moss, and when you step on it, a footprint remains. The bog is one of the few things left that man rarely treads on.
It is home to many things that seem insignificant too, including orchids and insect-eating plants ... above it fly the eagles. They sit majestic-like on dead trees, protecting their domain.
If you could look at the bog from an eagle’s eye view, you’d see little criss-cross paths from the deer that call this bog their home.
In the middle of the bog are the islands, a refuge for wildlife.
Our family has a strong bond to this land; we’ve lived near the bog for at least a century. My mom and her brothers and sisters picked blueberries as children from this very bog.
In the early spring, before the tamarack green again, a fog hovers over the ground. There’s a smell in the air of bog myrtle and sweet flag. As the frost leaves the ground, the frogs awaken and the bog comes to life.
In the summer, the tamarack turn green again, and the sound of birds fill the air. They are in their glory, harvesting insects and feeding their young. The milkweed begins to bloom, and the monarchs now call the bog their home. The spring and summer rains come and filter through the sphagnum moss, into the Mille Lacs Watershed
In the fall, it turns to gold. When the sun begins to set, the tree tops glow.
Winter is the time of peace in the bog, refuge for the deer herds that roam the area ... silence. The seasons of the bog are the circle of life, and it exists in my back yard.
The Soo Line Trail borders this beautiful wilderness. Snowmobilers, ATVers, hikers, bikers, and skiers all have the opportunity to enjoy this area as they use the existing trail.
All these years, I’ve taken this timeless gift for granted. I love the bog. I want it to out-live me, my children and theirs. I pray the bog will endure.
Kathleen Saumer is a former Messenger staff writer.