I searched the flower I’ve been enjoying on my walks in Peach County lately to find out what it’s called. Answer: it’s the Hairy Cat’s Ear or False Dandelion. Mowers all over town have been mobilized to cut it down.
As I gazed out on a field of Hairy Cat’s Ears this morning, I recalled walks with my friend recently on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State and on Whidby Island. We saw two waterfalls, a rain forest with "Big Maples,” yew trees, spruce and firs, not to mention lichen and all sorts of mosses on tree trunks and on the ground. We love to travel and enjoy awe-inspiring scenery.
Yet the experience also is new every time on these walks I have taken, round and round, on the same walking track at the edge of town for twenty years. I saw a red fox chase a gray cat out of the wild hedges once, and an armadillo go determinedly across the grass in the center of the track after sensing or seeing me. I’ve seen each year’s arrival of robins along with those who stay all year, plus the resident thrushes, brown thrashers, bluebirds, woodpeckers, blue jays, mocking birds, cardinals, crows, and other black birds.
Honeysuckles appear and vines are cut down and grow back again. New trees are added to the arboretum around the track each year, and they prosper.
Today at South Peach Park, I beheld the vast field of False Dandelions. As I rounded the bend of the walking track, I discovered something new. They are sunflowers! When my back was to the sun, they faced me with their cheerful yellow blooms. As I came around the curve, I realized the whole field of flowers now was looking away—at the sun. Passing by those that had just been in the shade, I saw that they were not open or were just beginning to open.
The lesson is clear. Scenic vistas, large or small, are there for us if we get out there and look.