I spend many hours in the summer wallowing in the muddy shallows of our cove, weeding or 'water gardening.' When I emerge from the cove, there's usually a fine layer of silt adhering to my body hair - it looks like I have tiny runnels of dirt coating my body. Sometimes there's a Milfoil stem dried onto my cheek like a feather, or a leech attached to my leg. Particles of mica and dust have become embedded in my swimsuits - they're released from the weave, and flit loosely about in the sunlight, as I dress. I often find parts of decaying black leaves, that had unknowingly stuck to me like papier-mâché, collecting around the drain as I shower each day. But still, a pervasive swamp smell, which I'm told others don't notice, stays with me.
I'd taken to referring to myself as the Swamp Monster, an homage to my hours of immersion in my watery garden. I'm obviously not one for cutesy pet names like "Sweet Pea," but now that I've learnt the names of some aquatic plants, I've decided that a more accurate alias for me might be "Pondweed." It gives the impression of being unkempt and rugged-sounding, like I want to be. It sounds natural: straggly and unsophisticated. It's certainly better than being called a "Bladderwort" don't you think?