The unexpected capitalization is deliberate: The sign on the Interstate is providing the proper name of the swamp beside the road.
All right then. I’m used to seeing big bodies of water named, both salt and fresh: oceans, seas, coves, bays, lakes (aka ponds, in Newfoundland). Of course, sometimes folks seem to sort of miss the point.
But never mind the occasional oddities. I’m also used to seeing running bodies of water named: rivers and creeks. But who names a swamp? I mean, its synonyms include “slough,” and my Prairie upbringing makes it hard for me to see a slough as deserving a name.
Yet, as becomes clear over the next few days as we wend our way south to Florida, the folks hereabouts name swamps, and with enthusiasm.
Rocky Swamp. Beaverdam Swamp. Maple Swamp. Douglass Swamp. Bullstown Swamp. Puddin’ Swamp. Okefenokee Swamp. And my own favourite, Toisnot Swamp. (Although it’s just possible that I’ve been unduly influenced by my recent round of Scabs and Guts. Toi-snot, get it? Now you see why I love this swamp!)
And, of course, the Everglades are the mother of all swamps.
As the named swamps pile up, something tickles at the back of my brain. Wise in the ways of my subconscious, I wait for it to emerge in its own good time. And so it does.
Aha! Land o’ Lakes! And as so often happens, things I think about turn up in person in the next day or so. In this case, in the form of an individual portion of butter at the hotel’s included breakfast.
Land o’ Lakes. The butter made by a Minnesota co-op, with a brand name that riffs on Minnesota’s nickname: Land of 10,000 Lakes.
But Land o’ Lakes – or Land O Lakes as the label has it – will not do for this eastern strip of the US of A. These are not lakes, dagnab it, they are indubitably swamps.
With a prompt from Word’s thesaurus (looking for synonyms for “land” that start with an “s”), I considered State o’ Swamps which offers a double entendre, but there is more than one State involved. That’s why my vote goes to Spread o’ Swamps: accurate, evocative, and available (I checked).
If this Senate thing doesn’t work out (which seems unlikely, I know), maybe I’ll go into tourism branding.