|George Buster Singleton|
(For decades, local historian and paranormal investigator George “Buster” Singleton published a weekly newspaper column called “Somewhere in Time.” The column below, which was titled “State flower should have remained the goldenrod,” was originally published in the Nov. 4, 1993 edition of The Monroe Journal in Monroeville, Ala.)
I am not one to gripe, but I think our state legislature was out for lunch or on a coffee break when they voted to change the state flower from the beautiful goldenrod to the camellia.
During these days of the fall season, there is nothing more beautiful than to ride by a field that is full of blossoming goldenrods. To watch them wave and toss in the autumn winds is a sight to behold. And the past few days have been an ideal time for riding, viewing and absorbing this wild and golden beauty across the high hills of our county.
This wild beauty requires no care or culturing. It asks for nothing, but gives to the viewer a wild and primitive beauty that is to be found in no other flower. If I was asked to compare the goldenrod to something of equal beauty, I would say that it reminds me of a beautiful, young country girl, dressed in a colorful gingham dress, with her long, golden hair flowing in the soft winds of an autumn evening.
As I view the untamed beauty of the wild goldenrod, I am reminded time and time again of some of the young, beautiful country girls that I knew and grew up with.
Asking no quarter, these wild and beautiful flowers take the seasons as they come. No one knows the struggles and hardships these beauties endure. If it is a dry season, the raw primitive beauty is still there. Should the season be a wet one, again, their beauty returns to cover the land, asking for nothing. But yet, in all their hardships, a true beauty bursts forth that surpasses the best. Truly, our Lord must have had this wildflower in mind when he placed on this earth the golden-haired girl from the hill country.
Should anyone who reads this grow tired of our world of fantasy and fairy land, should the games of competition grow boring, as our modern-day gladiators compete in the arenas on the boob tube, there is a solution. Head up into the hill country and marvel at the wild and primitive beauty of the many acres of goldenrods.
Hardly a day passes that I don’t go up into the hill country, if only for a short time, and marvel at the wild primitive beauty of the fields of goldenrods. And, each time, as I make my way homeward, I feel rested, both in mind and in spirit. As I look toward the heavens, the skies seem more colorful as my thoughts mount the sighing winds of autumn for a journey too wonderful to describe.
Today in our society, we spend millions of dollars seeking peace of mind and contentment. We travel to the far corners of the globe in search of a moment of peace that is to be found right at our fingertips. Just pause for a moment atop a high hill and view at length the wild goldenrods and black-eyed susans as they toss back and forth in the autumn winds of the season. Here is to be found that which all seek but few are fortunate enough to recognize.
Peace and contentment await there on some hilltop, in the high country where the beautiful goldenrods blossom forth in the golden rays of the autumn sun.
When I venture forth each day and watch Mother Nature slowly spread her autumn blanket of golden colors across the rolling hills, I know for sure that all can live on this planet we call earth in peace and harmony. The answer awaits, there in the hill country. But, we have to seek and accept, in spirit and belief, if we are to be a part.
Those of use who live in this area of our country are blessed. The peace of mind that is to be found here cannot be measured in silver and gold. There should be no need for medicines to relax or for the use of tranquilizers for nerves. A trip to the hill country and a view of the fields of wild goldenrods will cure that which bothers the mind and hampers the spirit. Take it from me. I know for sure.
Should you by chance wake up one of these beautiful autumn mornings with nothing to do, head northwest to the community of Franklin. Turn through the Red Hills area, then amble across the high hills toward the town of Camden. While there, relax for a moment over a good cup of coffee.
Then, return by Highway 41, back through the beautiful hill country and along the winding river through the communities of Coy, Bells Landing and Finchburg. When you have traveled this 80 or so beautiful miles, your mind will be at ease, and your spirit will soar as if on the wings of an eagle.
Many times I have made this trip. Just last week a group of friends and I crossed these hills and returned by the route mentioned above. And, when our journey was over, we were amazed even more at the marvels of creation. As we traveled through the countryside, the wondrous colors of early autumn grew in beauty along the steep slopes and deep valleys that borders the winding river.
So, as I close for now, I think that I would be safe in saying that in that land beyond the sunset, there will be great fields of beautiful goldenrods and black-eyed susans, growing by the river that gives eternal life.
Across the high hills in the distance, the wondrous colors of autumn will shine in the light-blue rays of the eternal sun – in a place that knows no sickness, no sorrow or heartaches. In a time that is not measured in years, but only in forevers.
(Singleton, the author of the 1991 book “Of Foxfire and Phantom Soldiers,” passed away at the age of 79 on July 19, 2007. A longtime resident of Monroeville, he was born on Dec. 14, 1927 in Marengo County and served as the administrator of the Monroeville National Guard unit from 1964 to 1987. He is buried in Pineville Cemetery in Monroeville. The column above and all of Singleton’s other columns are available to the public through the microfilm records at the Monroe County Public Library in Monroeville. Singleton’s columns are presented here each week for research and scholarship purposes and as part of an effort to keep his work and memory alive.)