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Friday, December 24, 2004

Moseley Bog

 You haven't seen a bog until you've seen a Moseley bog.

 Why Moseley? Because the area is a conservation district with its own special bog preservation order. Even though bogs are not pretty in an ordinary way, they are nonetheless places of fascination and home to diverse wildlife.

 The main attraction of a bog has to do with its age. Older is definitely better! The oldest bog in Moseley was used for bathing purposes several thousand years ago. Remains of a firepit and sweat house have been discovered alongside a creek, which, even though it lacked the creature comforts of four walls and indoor heating, was clearly the stone age equivalent of a spa lounge with running water and a warm place to sit.

 Several millennia later, this same bog was an inspiration to the young John Tolkien, who, as an adult, took the fetid, murky character of the place as a model for part of his storybook landscape. The extreme age of the bog is certainly part of the attraction, as it gives the place a peculiar air of growth and decay. Plant growth is so vigorous and dense that one cannot make one's way through, yet this vigorous growth is in and among gigantic and impressive trees and logs half submerged in bog muck.

 Newer bogs are not quite so impressive, but are still developing their own aspects of funk and decay. Moseley has any number of early 20th Century interior bogs which, per the preservation order, must be left to decay in their own unique ways.