Stewardship and Optimism on Fish Fry Lake

As our planet tilts the northern hemisphere towards winter, I’m reminded of the tenuous balance that allows for life.  Residual colors in the leaves of plants and trees mark nature’s random biocomplexity. Mid-October snow flurries just after dawn are a somber reminder that winter is coming.  Non-tethered, free-floating BioHavens on Fish Fry Lake stack up on the leeward shore, and in the process create a new waterscape, but one that will change again when the wind blows from another direction.  All these are just a few degrees from transition, or even extinction.

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Stewardship is a hopeful, optimistic endeavor.  We work within the natural system to engender, sustain and promulgate life.  Often our focus revolves around the more visible, higher-order biota, and thus we overlook the biofilm-generating building blocks of life. As we learn and pay attention, though, we remember that the biofilm base is beyond vital to all life.

I’ve just completed an article draft for the Society of Wetland Scientists that tracks some of the key things we have learned here at Fish Fry Lake.  The lake has undergone many transitions since its early days, when aquatic life was sparse.   We have too. I feel a level of pride and accomplishment in that, through thoughtful and inquiring stewardship, and much learning from nature, the lake is a bastion of life now.  Our mutual transition has been a creative process.  This is energizing as we slip into winter.