I've been trying to process my feelings about having my newly discovered invasive plant ID confirmed by those 'in the know.' It's gratifying to know I have the skills, but it's also devastating to face the fact that we now have THREE invasive plants in our lake.
Once the ID was confirmed, I set out to survey further afield, 'thinking like a bladderwort,' to hone in on areas where it might be thriving. After scouring many shallow, stagnant coves in beautiful fall light (and winds!), I hit the jackpot this week. The density of plants in this segment of the lake, and the extent of the infestation is disheartening. Though this is the first known occurrence of Utricularia inflata in Maine, it's presence here has clearly been overlooked for years.
I have the sense of disappointment a parent feels when their child doesn't turn out the way they expected - a realization that we don't have control over everything, and that things are not as we imagined them to be. It's a kind of grieving - I feel it deeply, even though this is not about my human family. I've tossed and turned at night, trying to come to terms with what will be the new future, imagining what the way forward will be, and dismissing the old dream I'd cherished. The sadness is overwhelming at times. Grieving is a process - it has its ups and downs, it comes and goes.
And yes, those who know and love me have been gentle and understanding. They've been able to both commiserate and remind me that our lake is the same, that it's still the lake I know and love, that my connection to it is unchanged.
Look at this beautiful, successful plant!