|Sharp-lobed hepatica (H. acutiloba) blooming along Cove Hardwood Nature Trail the first spring after devastating wildfires scorched the area in November, 2016. Great Smoky Mountains National Park © 2017 Kristina Plaas|
Every year at the time I take my camera out to find wildflowers. I look for them everywhere, but I have specific locations where I know I will find the flowers. One of those locations, a nature trail through old growth forest, was one of those places affected by the Chimney tops 2 wildfire last fall. The fire, once small and well-contained, was whipped up by hurricane-force winds to wreak much devastation in the Smokies. All winter wildflower lovers asked themselves, "What about Cove Hardwood, what will happen to the wildflowers?" In my first foray up the trail after it's reopening this week, I found the flowers. They were small and many were a bit bruised and banged up from recent rains and storms, but they were there. Persistent, against the odds, despite fire's wrath -- they rose up. I admired the tiny blossoms, doing what I am afraid to do at times, and said to myself: "Be like the wildflowers -- be persistent." Never, ever give up the fight. Wear your bruises and banged up spots with pride and know you earned them. The hepatica were beautiful yesterday. And they will be even more beautiful next year. I look forward to watching them rise up -- again!