A friend of mine just recently mentioned an article on genus loci (spirit of the place) and the importance of familiarizing oneself with the native wild. The idea has been playing around in my brain ever since. Normally I like to joke that I’m apt to be found keeled over in some wooded area one day, a victim of my tactile nature– I am always feeling up the plant life. With that in mind, I decided to at least give it a start and so I picked up a few quick guides.
The history of our little city is rather tame, I discovered, compared to our surrounding areas (stunning mountains, disappearing English colonies, coastal pirate dwellings). It basically works out to a once riverboat town founded near the Tar River with cotton and then later tobacco as the leading crops of the then. The area is considered to be in the central region of the coastal plain with a humid subtropical climate (I seriously cannot emphasize humid enough). We do have one gorgeous old graveyard though.
Common wildlife consists of the box turtle, snapping turtle, bullfrog, southern toad (cute and bumpy), honeybee, black widow spider (among others but these are far the scariest looking), lots of snakes (green, water, garter, copperhead, cottonmouth, …oh joy), red winged blackbird, american crow, northern cardinal, eastern cottontail rabbit, red and gray foxes, black bear, and the white tailed deer to name more than a few.
Trees include the washington hawthorn, common apple, several oaks (southern red and live, eastern white), eastern red cedar, sweetgum, southern magnolia, etc. Plants found in the area are butterfly weed, yellow jessamine, common cattail, common dandelion, trumpet honeysuckle, columbine, and so on and so forthesis. Obviously this list is not comprehensive but with guides in hand I can scout out any interesting bits and bobbles… I can also identify what type of bear is about to make me his dinner.