Saturday, March 24, 2007

Butner Seed Nursery

We've been calling this place "Butner Seed Nursery" since we found out about it, over 15 years ago. It's off Brickhouse Rd up near Bahama, NC. It used to be informally guarded by a huge grey gander who lived at the first place on the left - we actually stopped the car once, my oldest and I, when he was maybe 8, and let the goose come honking and hissing right up to the open car window. His head reached right up so he could look into the car. Once he'd arrived, he didn't know what to do, and he huffed and paced a little, and then turned and went home.

But actually the place is a waterfowl impoundment (the Seed Nursery is at the end of Brickhouse Rd) made from land condemned for Falls Lake, but actually not under water. I always grin at that name - imagine impounding waterfowl? How?
They plant corn and millet in strips over some of the open land, to feed game, and portions are flooded from time to time to attract waterfowl. The field pansies (they come in purple and yellow) grow wild.

Whatever this place is called, it is an open, lonely, lovely place along the Flat River before it flows into Falls Lake. The scenes here are all from one walk last weekend. The pond is where we saw a female kingfisher silently fishing several weeks before.

I used to come here at night with a flashlight, which I then left in my pocket. I would walk the roads by moonlight, listening to beavers slapping the river in warning as I passed. I would hear owls calling to each other. I would startle invisible whitetail bucks, who made a snorting sound I had never heard before, and which a friend at work identified for me the next day.
I also used to ride my Diamondback bike here, having to get off and walk it across the rock causeways (because riding over them would nearly rattle my teeth out). And my oldest and I used to come to look for arrow heads, to identify animal tracks, and to sip tree sap from the holes left by Yellow Bellied Sap Suckers in the maples by the river.

The beech trees (not pictured anywhere on this post, unfortunately) around one of the old ponds are some of the most feminine trees I know anywhere. Their texture against the sky, when the buds are lengthened, but not yet sprung, is one of the most beautiful I know.

I love this place in all seasons. It has a unique presence that is always the same, even as the details change through the year.

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