The sound of the falling rain overwhelms the forest as we shelter in the rocky outcropping surrounded by the markings of the Native Americans who dwelled here long ago. The rain is gentle and doesn’t last long. I run my fingers across the cold stone surface in an effort to find the traces of the faded lines that once told the story of a special place and the history of the people. Sadly, the public is unkind to history and some of the petroglyphs have been removed while others were overwritten by slogans and profane phrases. It seems to hold true that those who don’t respect themselves will never respect anyone else.
I’ve done the best I could to make the petroglyphs stand out by digitally tracing the lines and usinga black and white filter to obscure the paint. Some have been chipped off and stolen. Some have simply worn away. The engraving seems to have been done by pecking the sandstone with a harder stone. The texture of the lines is rough and uneven in places. Whereas some of the modern engraving is sharper and the lines are more symmetrical which is evidence of modern tools. One set of initials carved beside the glyphs is dated ’26. Presumably 1926 so we can’t really blame it all on the newer generation.
As the rain lifts my guides indicate that it’s time to visit a ghost that dwells on the forest floor. The small white plants which is more commonly referred to as Indian Pipes. They were a part of my childhood and ghost plants or ghost lilies was the names that I learned first.
The Idian Rocks Ruritan Club that owns the Indian Rocks Community park calls this area the Dancing Forest because of the growth habits of the mature Rhododendrons and Mountain Laurels that flourish here. I’ll be publishing photos specifically of the Dancing Forest at a later date but you can see one in the background of the image above.
As seen in tonight’s Feature Image the Indian Pipes/Ghost Plant completely lack chlorophyll. This means that they are completely heterotrophic. They cannot use the energy of the sun. Instead they rely on a very special relationship with the forest floor in order to survive.
As a youth I became infatuated with the pale flowers that dotted my grandfather’s property. I decided to build a terrarium that would include this unique flower. So I found a small clump placed them in an old Mason jar along with plenty of the native soil. By sundown they turned black and died. It wasn’t until after I took college botany that I learned why this specific plant would never adapt to captivity. It not only requires the right soil but would need one of two mycorrihizal fungus to feed it. Either Russula or Lactarius mushrooms and the fungus would require a tree to harvest nutrients in enough excess to supply both itself and the flowers. Typically the three part combination is linked to beech trees. Under perfect conditions one would need a terrarium that contains a mature beech in Bonsai form, one of the two fungus and viable seeds or root cuttings from the Indian Pipes/Ghost Plant. It’s not impossible but it’s far more effort and expertise than I can provide.
So this plant is best and more easily enjoyed in its natural habitat. A great place to do this is at The Indian Rocks Community Park in Craigsville West Virginia. It’s a fifty-five acre privately owned nature preserve that’s doing wonderful work to provide a sanctuary for native species, provide a wholesome place for families to enjoy and support a small community in rural West Virginia. It’s only about a twenty minute drive from Summersville Lake and a nice day trip to get away from the crowd.
Before I close I want to give a special thank you and shout out to Kathleen Curry, Darrin Martin and Ada Cox for not only working so hard to make a nice park but for also being my personal guides on the trail system.
Good night friends and be blessed throughout your days.
For those who have been following me on Facebook and know of the struggle content providers have to get circulation from big tech I’ve been recommending for people to adopt MeWe as a social media platform. One of the problems I’ve run into on MeWe is that people don’t know how to navigate the platform. So to help with that I’ve created a permanent page on my website as a basic Basic Beginner’s Guide To MeWe I’ve tried to anticipate all basic questions there and You can bookmark the page to have as a reference and if you have any questions or suggestions don’t hesitate to contact me. I do still have a day job and I help admin several pages on both platforms so replies might be a little slow but I will answer you.
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