I am endlessly fascinated by the moods of the cattail pond on the Charles Allen Biological Station near Columbia, La. On my second visit in late January, I approached the pond in early afternoon from a side I had not visited before. I stood on the edge of the pond among saplings that still hung on to their dead and shriveled autumn leaves. I didn't look closely at the trees; I'm not sure what they were, but several tree species in Louisiana hang on to dead leaves until they are pushed off by new buds in spring.
And I reveled in the delicate tracery of the shadows of those leaves on the seemingly solid algae-bloom surface of the pond.