Monday, March 16, 2009

Certified Wildlife Habitat

The following is a neat story submitted by our new friends Cheri & Steve Sederquist of Martinsville.

"When we moved last November, I decided I needed to get to know my neighbor. She is a surprising mix of youthful agility, and aged lethargy. At times her house glistens with fresh, clean rain, and yet I know that those dusty days of ‘dog summer’ left much looking less than pristine. I have seen the plethora of blooms; red, white, and golden; that grace her pathway and welcome visitors; I have seen bare branches of winter that effectively tell intruders to keep away. I have seen her supply food and nourishment to the young and the aged without regard for cost or recovery. I have seen her angry and foaming, swollen like a bruised knee or elbow, bellowing her furor. In addition, I have seen her gentle touch with infants and children, and even sing a faint lullaby. I have seen her roll and tumble in play with guests, and be equally comfortable in solitude.

I have often wondered if she ran lodging from that place of hers. The visitors who come and go do so with the ease and familiarity that only comes with a true tranquility of shared hospitality. Guests are welcome to take as they need, and she seems to delight in their prosperity, and welcomes each returning traveler eagerly.

Apparently, I am not the only one so enamoured with my neighbor. I now see that the neighborhood has changed, and our sleepy little community is being refurbished to accept new visitors who will bring new vitality and energy with them.

My neighbor is the Smith River, just yards after she courses over the hydro-dam on southbound Rt. 220. I have been blessed to witness the magnificent bald eagle of winter hunched on a branch overhanging the river to seek his dinner. I have thrilled at the shrill of the kingfisher, gloried in the many glints of gold as the goldfinches returned in the spring, and the myriad of painted glass black swallow-tail butterflies that gather pollen from blossom to blossom. I have witnessed cardinals, Indigo buntings, and Ruby-breasted grosbeaks sharing the feeder seed simultaneously. I snapped pictures like a proud grandmother of the infant ducklings this spring, and silently cursed sneaky paw prints of the raccoon on my grill. I have giggled at the lumbering ground hogs in their quest for my garden bulbs, and gingerly stepped over wee salamanders that flash iridescent turquoise as they dart in and out of the downed leaves. Moreover, I delighted in the twin fawns that took advantage of the very first warm day of spring to gambol in the river water so typical of children everywhere. I have thought there is so much nature and beauty to be enjoyed here!

The National Wildlife Federation agreed, and today this little patch of land known as Indian Heritage RV Park is now a Certified Wildlife Habitat. The certification is based on the ability of an area to provide the basic essentials for wildlife to flourish: food, water, cover, and a suitable place to raise young, in addition to environmentally considerate land management.

Apparently, I was not alone in my awe and appreciation. The local Rivers and Trails organization has spearheaded a drive to establish a new canoe access to the Smith River. Created by the Henry County Parks and Recreation Department and adjacent to the park, the first passage down the river is directly through the newly Certified Wildlife Habitat.

Truly, “we make our friends; we make our enemies; but God makes our next door neighbor.” "

Thanks for the beautiful essay Cheri!


Anonymous said...

This was written by my friend, Cheri and after reading it, it was like sitting in her living room talking with her. How wonderful to be able to enjoy this article that she wrote. She should be writting books, filled with her beautifully, flowing words.
Love you Cheri!

Diane said...

I am awed at Cheri's writing ability and thrilled that she shares her home and view of the Smith River with a precious whippet that she got from me! Can't wait to visit and see everything she describes for myself!