Here I Sit in February, Pondering Shakori Hills
submitted by community member, Gary Phillips
I’m writing this in February, but spring is rising in these Shakori Hills. Already the tag alders are coloring for their sexual dance (long yellow male catkins and little purple female buds) and it was so warm this week that toads were on the move and chorus frogs sang up and down the creek.
It’s a wild world and our community of Silk Hope is part of a changing and warming world. Nature has its own set of rules and feast-days, and it’s quite a show around here.
By the way, it’s important to think about yourself in relationship to land forms and how water flows from you to the ocean. Shakori Hills’ ecological address is off an un-named tributary of Terrell’s Creek in the Haw River watershed of the Upper Cape Fear Basin of the Atlantic Ocean, on the lee side of the Silk Hope Monadnock to be more precise. It’s a lovely place to dwell.
History is also important. Did you know Silk Hope is named for over half a century of silk production here, from 1787 to the 1840s? Red Mulberry trees still abound in Silk Hope, some very old. While many of us love the fruit, alas, the Chinese silkworms preferred the expensive Italian white varieties, so silk became just a hope in Chatham County.
So what is there to look for in nature during the first half of May, when these little hills will sound with Shakori music? Let’s see…
If they’re bold enough, a regal black vulture pair will be guarding greenish white eggs in
the old barn near the upper camping area, as they have in former years.
The Taurus new moon will rise in the middle of the festival, about 4am on Saturday morning. Look for The Big Dipper/ Great Bear high overhead; and Cassiopeia just visible on the northern horizon, a wonky tilted “W” of stars.
In our bioregion, early May is filled with leopard frogs and cricket frogs and southern toads and cotton-tails and white-tails and wild turkeys, wood thrush serenades, ruby-throated hummingbirds, red-tail hawks a-hunting, poplar blossoms, honeysuckle, oxe-eye daisy, bats courting at twilight and every cavity, tree and barn beam filled with baby birds. Just to start.
What else? You’ll just have to look around and pay attention.