|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 “Spring beauty is everywhere, only have to look” was originally published in the May 26, 1988 edition of The Monroe Journal in Monroeville, Ala.)
Over the years, I thought that I could not appreciate the beauty of the arrival of spring any more than I did. Not until this spring, after my retirement, did I finally absorb, all in detail, the beauty of spring blossoming forth in all its splendor.
Many people go all the way through life and never fully appreciate the wondrous marvels that have been placed here during the early springtime for us to see and enjoy. We walk through the sections of the wooded areas that are nearby and never once stop and really look into the deep beauty of the wild violet or the beautiful blossoms of a mountain laurel.
We may drive along a little-used road and look from a distance at the splendor of a wild dogwood tree in bloom. Or give a passing glance of sorts to the glorious wild honeysuckle, climbing ever so carefully along a fence or brush, as though trying not to bruise even one of the many lovely blossoms that refresh the morning air.
I am always amazed to find that the most beautiful of the wild flowers many times grow alone in the most difficult places. Always where the ground is the roughest, or the rocks are the largest, one will find a lone wild violet or a single sprig of mountain laurel, hanging desperately on the side of a steep cliff. And there, maybe only one, will be the most beautiful bloom that one can imagine, clinging bravely to the spindly mountain laurel that is growing dangerously near the edge of the steep cliff.
I, too, have noticed that during my visits to the many old, abandoned cemeteries, there are always the lone flowers that stand out as though asking to be noticed.
Just last week, as I stood by the grave of my maternal grandfather, I looked down. There beside the headstone, struggling for life, was a small, wild mountain rose, not much larger than a marble. As I dropped to my knees and examined this very beautiful flower, I found everything to be perfect. Everything was in detail – no flaws, no mistakes. I wondered if this had just happened to grow here by accident.
As I looked at the small flower, I knew once again that nothing or no one is forgotten. The dates on the headstone reminded me that a great deal of time had passed since that day my grandfather was laid to rest here many years ago. So there in this small family cemetery, deep in the woods, where no one goes except the descendants of those who sleep there, this small, beautiful rose chose to grow beside the grave of this man who loved nature so much.
So, after all these years, regardless of how tough one thinks he is, we can all find beauty in the many wild flowers that grow around us. And when that beauty is noticed, one will find that the problems of life take on a different concept. The solution is much easier found, and the hill of life is always much easier to climb.
A walk in the deep woods during this time of year is like going to your family doctor and getting a cure for that stomach ache. And the beautiful thing is that all it costs is your time.
I truly believe that if I could get all the world leaders together and carry them with me to the hills and valleys that surround Nancy Mountain, letting them walk the paths that I have walked and see the beauty that I have witnessed there, the only problem that the world would have would be getting them away to take care of the other business at hand. There wouldn’t be time for war and the other disagreements that plaque the countries of the world; the woods would be alive with the snoring of the sleeping world leaders, lying in the stillness of the early morning, as I have done many, many times.
There’s a path that leads to nowhere
In the deep woods that I know,
Where an inland river rises
And a stream is still and slow;
There it wanders under willows
And beneath the silver green
Of the dogwoods’ silent shadows
Where the early violets lean.
There I go to meet the springtime
When the deep woods are aglow,
Wild flowers amid the marshes,
And the stream is still and slow;
There I find my fair oasis,
And with carefree feet I tread,
For the pathway leads to nowhere,
And the beauty overhead.
All the ways that lead to somewhere
Echo with the hurrying feet
Of the struggling and the striving,
But the way I find so sweet
Bids me dream and bids me linger –
Joy and beauty are its goal;
On the path that leads to nowhere
I have often found my soul…
(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.)