By Gene Stratton-Porter
Publication by means of Stratton-Porter, Gene, Plum, Sydney Landon
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Additional resources for Coming through the swamp: the nature writings of Gene Stratton Porter
Searching for a subject, waiting for the desired shot and for the appropriate lighting, dealing with the mechanics of photographic plates and cameras combined to educate the photographer of nature in the rewards of patience, leading to that incomparable experience of relinquishing one's own sense of human time to the quite different rhythms and expectations of the natural world. Stratton Porter's study of moths was a supreme exercise in patience. She was anxious to produce illustrations for her study without destroying the moths, for their own sake and because she was convinced that the moths' colors faded and changed after death and exposure to chemicals.
The long threads at the top are cut off and interwoven so that no moisture or no small insect can penetrate. In the case of Polyphemus the water-proof covering extends all over the cocoon and the emerging moth must bite and tear its way and eject a liquid which will soften the case so that it can emerge safely. The spinning finished, these caterpillars also burst their skin and crowd the discarded garment to the bottom of the little leathery inner enclosure in which they lie and there await the coming of May.
Similarly, Stratton Porter's words and photographs are like the fences: a line of defense against irreparable loss. Gene Stratton Porter lost the Limberlost Swamp. She then built "Wildflower Woods" as a refuge for the birds and native plants of northeastern Indiana, and as a retreat for herself. Then the grounds at Sylvan Lake were overrun by visitors who destroyed her flower beds and her serenity. Even the cabin was not a safe haven from those who really wanted to see where she lived. Gene could not turn away anyone who came with a sick or injured animal; but these callers interrupted her work, left with her pens and books, and then wrote fantastic descriptions of her life and home.