HOG BAYOU, La. — From above, Hog Bayou is a winding ribbon of silver, its water moving slowly toward wetlands and from there into the Wax Lake Delta.
Closer up, you can spot the head of a floating alligator, its length a hint of its size and age. Each inch (2.5 centimeters) between the nostrils and eye ridge indicates a foot (0.3 meters) in length, at least until a gator is about nine feet (three meters) long and its girth starts expanding.
Above, an osprey takes off from a treetop, probably hunting for fish. In between, you see a vine so strong that its embrace has created a deep spiral groove in a tree trunk.
Come closer still. See a small fiddler crab scuttling along a log; a skink’s dark and half-closed eye; a tiny green buffalo treehopper clinging, upside-down, to a leaf; a Brazilian verbena flower so small that dozens could fit on a quarter.
Think about poet William Blake’s lines, written in the early 1800s:
“To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.”