I visit this wetland on a regular basis throughout the year. It is my happy place. There is just something about the serenity of this place as the tall grasses and reeds sway in the wind that calms me and lifts my spirit even in the middle of winter when I am standing knee deep in snow, freezing. And no matter how many times I visit this spot I always see something in it that I hadn’t noticed before and find a new way to capture it on film.
Common reed (Phragmites australis) at the same location.
Common reed (Phragmites australis) In the last few years I have tried to get out more during the winter as a way to get out from under the crushing weight of cold and snow and remind myself that plants are still alive during the winter months. I took this photo during last weekend’s excursion to my favourite place in Toronto which just happens to be located directly in this wetland. Standing there looking at the tall grasses and rushes lifts my spirits at any time of year.
That giant blob at the very top of the hill that looks just like another regular old tree is not in fact another regular old tree but a massive cactus. It was a pretty darn impressive sight for this born and raised North American cold winter dweller.
Background on the Location
I took this photo at a strange Cuban roadside attraction called “El Valle Prehistorico”. We paid 1 peso each to enter and 1 peso each to take pictures. Fidel’s revolution began in the Sierra Maestra mountains and the land this attraction sits on was a former farm that had been pertinent to their activities in the countryside. The premise of the place was cheesy; life-sized plaster dioramas featuring caveman era vignettes. There was a dinosaur area on the other side, but the place was so big and the sun so hot, we skipped it. Despite the cheese (which was awesome in its own right) the landscape was stunning, covered in carpet of flowing, golden grass, dotted with cactus and other interesting plant-life, and backed by the majestic Sierra Maestra mountain-scape. I love my grasses so it was pretty near heaven.
Photographed in the countryside outside Santiago de Cuba.
I have to admit that I can’t say with any real authority whether this is sugar cane (Saccharum) or King Grass (Pennisetum purpureum). Sugar cane is a pretty major source of sugar and King Grass is grown as cattle feed. They looked so much alike out in the fields that it could go either way although with the thicker lower stalks I am leaning towards sugar cane in this case.