Of Beads and Blooms

Many times I look to current events to inspire the subject matter of my editorial. But after reading the various articles in this issue, it seems that a lot of them deal with early childhood memories of mine, which I will share with you.

Some of my earliest memories center around springtime, and being outside with my mom. I can almost smell the fresh flowers coming up and blooming along the border of our property – daffodils, crocuses and other spring flowers. I credit my mother with giving me a love and appreciation for all kinds of growing things, and wildflowers was not the least among them. She taught me about wood hyacinths and other woodland wildflowers, and how rare and delicate some of them can be.

There was something special about seeing something so fresh and green and colorful poking up through the matted down leaves that fell during the past autumn. It was such a contrast – the blandness and death of winter compared to the lively form of fresh life that looked great and sometimes smelled even better. A hyacinth growing outdoors has a unique odor that symbolized spring for me.

“Trillium Tales,” an article in this issue, brought back many of these early childhood memories. In the story the author writes about her own personal experiences with woodland flowers, and how her grandmother instilled in her an appreciation for the natural world.

Another article that really brought back early memories for me is “A Tribe Called Youth.” In this story, the author describes a group of adults that created a program to teach children wilderness survival skills. Some of these skills involve making bows and arrows and learning how to use them.

When I was young, my brothers were heavily involved in the outdoors, and Native American crafts and lore. I can remember some of them making items like arrows, and maybe even a bow, along with all kinds of beaded items– feather headdresses, moccasins and other items. This isn’t exactly what the survival group does, but I found many similarities. The common theme is an appreciation and interaction with nature and other cultures.

I know many people who do have a love for the outdoors, and they wonder how they can contribute to the well-being of the environment. Coming from a hunting and fishing background, I know that some of the dollars that I spend on a hunting and fishing license go toward the creation and preservation of habitat. Another way to help is to volunteer for various groups that deal with the natural world. One such group helps at the Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge in Savannah. There, they always need help cleaning out non-native invasive plant species, banding ducks and helping to track data and counting migratory birds to help with data collection.

This issue is probably more nature oriented than some past issues, but that’s ok. I think spring is a time of reawakening and becoming more aware of the great outdoors, since temperatures will be more conducive to taking walks and hiking the woodland trails. We’ve had a real winter this year, and I’m sure many of us will appreciate the upcoming warmer temperatures even more! Get outside and visit your favorite woodland haunt this spring – you’ll be better because of it.

by Mark Stash

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