We humans could learn a thing or two from wild critters. Sometimes they eat together and sometimes they take turns. Sometimes a bully comes on scene and chases them all away, and sometimes even the little guy fights back. And sometimes the little guy wins.
Except in North Carolina.
The stream roars softly over a barrier of rocks near where I sit taking inventory as Grady the Golden pads about the area on his own cataloging mission.
Nearby, a long-needle pine catches my eye, not for the needles – they are common enough – but for the pine cones protruding from the trunk, That is not something I’ve previously noticed. Later, down at the Michaux State Forest office, Forestry Technician Mike Rothrock tells me it is common for young Pitch Pine to have cones growing from the trunk, as well as the more common configuration, growing from the ends of branches.
Fishing season started this week. It was too darn cold to brave the squadrons of fisher-folk who’d be gathered in all the most productive places, though I did buy my license.
When I was a lad, we were one of two families living year-round on the lake. Some summer folks from town had their weekend-only cottages in clusters; between the clusters were large trees that passing storms had pushed into the water, and lily pad farms where the broad leaves and deep grasses hid lunker Chain Pickerel.
If the history of our planet could be compressed into 24 hours, we humans would account for little more than a minute. About nine minutes before that, dinosaurs roamed the globe, until a big rock fell from the sky, blew a hole in the ground somewhere south of Mexico, and evolved the dinosaurs into extinction.
In real time, about 250 million years ago, dinosaurs left footprints that became filled in with sand and other sediments, which compressed and would eventually decorate the capstone on rock walls of certain bridges where men fought and killed each other so their leaders could continue, or not, to base an economy on the unpaid labors of other men.