For forty years and more, I've wandered the Sandhills of Harnett, Lee and Moore.
In youth, I was a hunter,
stalking and fishing and foraging
for adventure and for food
and for tall tales to tell.
I didn't take much notice of the flowers then,
but lately I've taken to wandering these hills with another Hunter along.
And this Hunter's got quite an eye for everything wild,
including the flowers.
And the more we wander,
the more we wonder,
at all of nature,
and her mysteries...
Mysteries, like how this humble eastern box turtle,
deftly swept by Hunter from the path of an oncoming truck,
could have already wandered these woods for longer than Hunter has walked the earth.
Terrapene carolina carolina, quiet golden-headed keeper of his little half acre,
just recently emerged from a long winter's nap,
pursuing his unseen but well-worn path through the pines,
perhaps upon a prickly pear this morning to dine.
Yes, Nature's mysteries abound on a sunny Saturday morn,
here in the hills of ancient sand,
where tiny blue toadflax, Nuttallanthus canadensis, congregate along the lonely logging road
invisible to the busy motorists on the highway buzzing by,
but a cluster of pearls and amethysts to Hunter's keen eye.
And the brilliant sulphur-yellow sprouts of Baptisia cinerea,
gray-hairy false indigo,
brightening these straw-covered slopes long before the first human hunters appeared,
but surely grabbing their attention when arrive they did.
Soon our intrepid Hunter's eye did spy another spiky-blossomed Fabaceae,
this one as blue as the sky,
Lupinus diffusus, blue sandhill lupine.
Lupine and indigo and toadflax and orchids and box turtles, too,
proving again what we already knew;
that life in these Sandhills,
though changing, it's true,
continues to thrive as only nature can do.
And I hope you've enjoyed a glimpse, as have I,
of the Sandhills' true nature through Hunter's eye.