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Saturday, March 19, 2011

AHHHHHH the smelly sign of Spring

Random Weekend Thoughts


I know that for many people the signs of Spring are the crocus and the return of robins but for me the sign that makes the biggest impression is the return of the skunkweed along the paths in Columbia. And I am not taking about the marijuana strain called skunkweed (which is what you get when you Google “skunkweed”). I have mentioned before in this blog I usually run early in the morning in the dark. As I go along the paths at this time you can’t see much of the new flower buds or greening vegetation but I can’t escape the pervasive smell of the skunkweed opening. Normally this type of smell is something we would find unpleasant but because it harkens the first sign of Spring I look forward to it every year.

The skunkweed is found in the marshy areas along our streams. The path that runs parallel to Dobbin Road from Oakland Mills all the way up to Route 108 and the path that goes under Brokenland Parkway toward Savage are the best places to experience this aroma of Spring. The next couple of weeks are the best times to experience this unique plant.

Speaking of the path from Lake Elkorn to Savage that Howard County Parks and Rec maintains when are they going to be done with the sewer line that has torn up this great piece of wilderness? This path is my favorite run when snow is falling. It is a true winter wonderland and to see this area torn up the past year or so has been a shock. Progress can be ugly.

I will leave you today with an amazing Indian story.

Years ago an Indian tribe’s chief died and the custom was to select the two strongest young warriors to go off and see who could kill a bear and be first to return with the bear. That warrior would be made the new tribe chief. The tribe sent out their two best warriors named Running Waters and Falling Rocks.

Many moons went by and no warrior returned. Finally Running Waters returned with the bear he had killed and was made the new chief of the tribe. The tribe waited and waited for Falling Rocks to return but to this day he has never returned. And that is why to this day when you travel along many of our roads you with see signs saying “Watch out for Falling Rocks.”

As Paul Harvey used to say, “And now you know the REST of the story.” The next time you see one of those signs just remember where you heard it first.

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