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Tuesdays with Marjory

Marjory Stoneman Douglas outside her Coconut Grove cottage in the early 1920s.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas outside her Coconut Grove cottage in the early 1920s.

The federal land office once called the Everglades “a pestilential swamp,” a forbidding morass too sickly and sterile to merit survey, better abandoned to the Indians and runaway slaves who sought sanctuary in its watery fastness.

I grew up thinking that the Everglades were an extension of my backyard. My father and brother used to hunt black-bristled wild boar from an airboat with .22 rifles while my mother preferred birding, taking a small guidebook printed by the Audubon Society which she checked off from time to time while we waded in waterways where ringneck snakes lay sleepy and sullen, curled up and glinting in the sun like the Disk of Phaistos.

Bleak and lifeless at first glance, the Everglades does not yield up its riches easily, especially in the dry winter months like March, the time when most excursions are made.

Read the entire article in the March 2010 issue