Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes Folklore

Appalachia Through My Eyes – The Legend Of The Wildflowers

I haven’t had a chance to see many wildflowers this Spring. I don’t know if its because Spring came to Appalachia so early or that my life has been way too busy. Probably a bit of both. The other evening I decided I better go look for my favorite Spring wildflowers before it was too late.

Lucky for me, I don’t have to go far. Out in the backyard, beyond the greenhouse, clothesline, and firepit, just a few steps up the old trail and I’m in the woods. As I looked around I saw dwarf crested Iris in full bloom, dainty white violets, and the nodding heads of Trillium.

As I laid on my back to take pictures of the Trillium I thought of their loveliness, of their hidden beauty growing there in the edge of the woods like they’re too shy to bloom in the sunshine.

I’ve always been an avid reader. Even as a young girl I loved to read. If I found a book I liked, I’d ask the school librarian to help me find other books by the same author. I was especially fond of Scott O’Dell. I’m not sure which of his books I read first, but I know I was sad when I had read them all.

Laying in my wildflowers out back reminded me of one of his books Streams to the River, River to the Sea. The book tells a fictional story about Sacagawea-Lewis and Clark’s interpreter. At some point during the story Sacagawea shares a Shoshone Legend with the men. I don’t remember the exact words, but the gist of it has stayed with me all these years:

Wildflowers are the footprints of children long gone on who’ve come back to brighten our days.


Appalachia Through My Eyes – A series of photographs from my life in Southern Appalachia.


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  • Reply
    April 22, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    “Wildflowers are the footprints of children long gone on who’ve come back to brighten our days.”
    What a lovely sentiment!
    May it change our view of wildflowers as we see them in our journeys.
    God bless.

  • Reply
    Vicki Lane
    April 21, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    What a lovely thought! It’ll be with me now every time I look at a wildflower.

  • Reply
    Uncle Al
    April 21, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    Another late response…but I enjoy the wild flowers here near Franklin. I’ve been taking pics of some when I walk the little doggy. 🙂 Have quite a few and hope to put them in an album some day..That trillium is truly pretty.

  • Reply
    Mrs. K
    April 21, 2012 at 8:06 pm

    There are no weeds, just wildflowers! I love the Shoshone legend, will have to look explore wildflower legends.

  • Reply
    lynn legge
    April 21, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    ohh that flower is gorgeous.. lucky you to lie on your back and examine it.. and i love the story you told about the childrens footsteps..
    i too have always been an avid reader..
    have a great weekend
    big ladybug hugs

  • Reply
    April 21, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    I truly love wildflowers but spring wildflowers the most – they are so beautiful. Love the laying down to be next to the flowers, I truly wish for an old trail in the woods.

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    April 21, 2012 at 3:49 pm

    I love wildflowers and I love that legend. We were in the woods today and saw a few among the many, many ferns. I love Jack in the Pulpit, but haven’t seen any for a while.

  • Reply
    April 21, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    great post….as Sue mentioned: books, wildflowers and woods!
    Haven’t read Scot O’Dell—will check out his books. Thanks for mentioning them.

  • Reply
    brenda s 'okie in colorado'
    April 21, 2012 at 12:19 pm

    I have always loved wildflowers. I love the Shoshone legend and will always look at wildflowers in a sweeter way.

  • Reply
    Wayne Newton
    April 21, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    Boy, you really got me with that “lay on your back”, thing to have the best view of the flowers in your post.
    There are many such scattered over my little piece of Paradise; only thing is, I am compelled to see them from above, for if I find myself supine, it requires another someone to get me back on my feet.
    Guess I must be content, though, for your reminders help me through most every day.
    Thank you, Tipper

  • Reply
    B f
    April 21, 2012 at 11:57 am

    yes theres a beautiful world out there in nature and made by the master builder
    when i see my first flower in spring i think it was sent to brighten up what would be another
    dreary day
    thanks tipper for all you do for us

  • Reply
    susie swanson
    April 21, 2012 at 10:54 am

    Awww, yes thank you for reminding us to take time out of our busy day and look at the beauty..There’s quite a few to see..

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    April 21, 2012 at 10:48 am

    books, wildflowers and woods — a few of the comforting necessities of life! And, of course, having Tipper to remind us is a boon as well.

  • Reply
    April 21, 2012 at 9:43 am

    Last Sunday we drove home from church through the mountains; there were several varities of wildflowers along the roadsides. I have learned these flowers are usually very hardy and if brought into the beds in the yard, can be very aggressive!

  • Reply
    April 21, 2012 at 9:34 am

    Thank you, Tipper, for taking time to stop and look at the flowers and reminding us to do the same! Those same flowers are growing in abundance under a huge oak behind our house and I almost missed their blooms because I had not walked back there! I loved the legend.

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    April 21, 2012 at 9:32 am

    Loved this post….We too have a lot of different wildflowers in the woods behind our home..Some growing in different habitats. Near the wet weather spring banks all the way down the hill, there are species that will not fair so well in the drier part of the south side…etc.etc.
    Our yard is full of some amazing wildflowers, if one really takes the time to look at the complexity of the blooms…The dandelion, creeping charlie, (which I love to push my rollator thru as it raises a minty aroma) clovers, passion flower (maypops)
    poke-sallet, mustard (yellow), common violets and all sorts of vines like honeysuckle and wild morning glories, from the mini’s to the large ones, white daisy, Queen Anns lace, Joe Pye, golden rod, black-eyed susan, Thistle, wild artichoke, sunflowers, on and on..and this is just what I’m thinking of now..there are more I know..It’s just trim trim to keep them from hopping full fledged into the yard…Year before last we had the dreaded Nightshade Jimson Weed show up…beautiful purple bloom with the weird seed pod…This is what I get for having so many bird feeders in and around the yard..and all the wild flower seeds the birds bring in like the turkeys and few quail, etc…..
    You know that “weeds are just misplaced wildflowers”….LOL
    Thanks Tipper

  • Reply
    April 21, 2012 at 9:27 am

    I share your passion for reading that started when I was in elementary school. I used to stay inside during recess and read Nancy Drew Mysteries.
    The Breaks Interstate Park, on the KY and VA border, has some of the most beautiful wildflowers in the world. I heard that people come from all over to see the Mountain Laurels (Lady Slippers) that bloom in late spring. I have never been lucky enough to see that show. There is also a small red flower that covers the ground around Mother’s Day that is native to the area. I have tried transplanting them but they refuse to live here.

  • Reply
    April 21, 2012 at 9:18 am

    I have never heard that Legend, but I like it!
    Makes me want to go out and say hello to all of the children of long ago.

  • Reply
    April 21, 2012 at 9:07 am

    a beautiful legend. so is that flower, just fantastic. i would love to lay in the flowers. but then who would get me up? lol

  • Reply
    April 21, 2012 at 8:15 am

    Native Americans have the most beautiful legends. Thanks so much for sharing and filling our morning with visions of wildflowers! I am so amazed sometimes to just see these beautiful little flowers trying to struggle to survive my lawnmower.
    I might add something I often heard my Mother say. She always said people who read a lot were smarter and could spell better…she still reads even though up in age.

  • Reply
    April 21, 2012 at 8:12 am

    I love to look out across the fields and see wildflowers. Haven’t heard of the legand but it’s beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply
    Mike McLain
    April 21, 2012 at 8:03 am

    I always loved coming across trillium when I was a kid. There are so many delicate and beautiful flowers that grow in that part of the world, usually off the beaten path, so they aren’t usually observed unless a person is looking for them. I remember the Trillium (white and red – really violet), Solomon’s Seal, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, the dainty little Wild Iris, and many others.
    When I get back in the mountains, my ambition is for my wooded property to have nothing but native plants on it. I will see if my wife supports that idea when the time comes – I may have to plant some non-native species that please her eye, but there will be space somewhere for all of the varieties I just mentioned, and like in nature, NOT lined up in little rows, but scattered randomly so that people will have to be looking for them or otherwise enjoying nature in order to find them.

  • Reply
    April 21, 2012 at 8:03 am

    In my teaching career I often suggested or used Scot O’Dell’s books. So great that you would share such a wonderful author. Of course, I also enjoy looking for the wild flowers of the forest. I have never seen the one you pictured. Right now my Irises have been in bloom; I just just love seeing them.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    April 21, 2012 at 7:51 am

    What a beautiful story, I too love to wander through the woods and waysides to look for wild flowers.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    April 21, 2012 at 7:27 am

    Tipper, I can always count on you to touch the deepest part of my heart….laying on your back in the woods taking pictures of hidden footprints!
    I share your passion for books though mine started in my late teens and has solid ever since.
    Thank you for the view through your eyes!

  • Reply
    Mary Shipman
    April 21, 2012 at 7:11 am

    What a lovely thought!

  • Reply
    Gorges Smythe
    April 21, 2012 at 6:13 am

    I never heard that story; thanks for telling it.

  • Reply
    April 21, 2012 at 5:43 am

    Spring arrived unusually late in Cyprus this year. I’ve only seen some daisies and poppies not far from home.

  • Reply
    April 21, 2012 at 5:41 am

    Wildflowers are the most beautiful, I think. I don’t know why. Maybe it just seems to me that they are so independent. Nobody set them out; they are growing there simply because they want to grow there! The designer of these flowers sure knew what was needed. All we need do is just look.
    Thanks Tipper; good way to start this day.

  • Reply
    Canned Quilter
    April 21, 2012 at 4:59 am

    Such a beautiful legend and thought : )

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