This section of the Suwannanoa River runs near Warren Wilson College and is on of the most popular recreation areas on this river that runs from Black Mountain to the French Broad River. Though this section of the river remains very natural, with wild banks and rocks and ponds within its riparian landscape, the river has suffered from pollution from runoff from increased development in Western North Carolina. It is constantly monitored from E coli, and in 2006 and in 2008, segments totally 14 miles wee placed on the list of impaired waterways. Urban best management practices subsequently lead to the removal of this waterway from this list. (https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-10/documents/nc_swannanoa.pdf) The improvement of this waterway indicates the importance of the Clean Water Act to ensure that waterways are remediated when they fail to reach these standards in terms of turbidity and impaired biological diversity.
Allowing ponds to remain on the banks of waterways is very important for biological diversity. They also are good for allowing toxins to be filtered, in addition for helping to contain floodwaters with the onset of more violent storms.
Though butterflies frequently absorb their nutrients from flowers and plants, sometimes they lie directly on the riverbanks and get their nutrients from the soil. There were hundreds of butterflies doing this along this section of riverbank.
This small bamboo grove is on the grounds of Warren Wilson College along the banks of the river. It is a gorgeous grove with rich golden yellows. The leaves of this new growth contrasting with the thick stalks captivated my attention.
Lake Pohawtan is another lovely natural spot near Asheville where there are marshlands with lots of vegetation, geese and other wildlife.
Marshlands function in much the same way as ponds and provide habitat for wildlife.
Below is an image from the Pisgah National Forest. We were walking along this trail and found a hollowed out log that wildflowers used as a natural planter. it reminded me that fallen trees and decomposing logs often offer the perfect nutrients for new life.
The private campsite we stayed at in Suwnnanoa was on the top of a mountain. A steep private dirt road led to the top and much of the landscape was left wild.d Rocks with lichen, blooming trees, fallen twigs all made a harmonious but wild whole.
The sunset through the barren trees that were just beginning to bud and wake for spring evoked a peaceful mood with space for possibilities. It reminded me that the seasons are lessons that period of dormancy always transition into rebirth and growth as long as we allow nature to follow its own rhythms and maintain balance.