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Be like lone wildflowers

On Second Thought
Lead Summary
Lori Sorenson, editor

Matt and I recently met friends near Hill City, South Dakota, for our annual ATV ride on the trails of the Black Hills National Forest.
As always, the four-day getaway included campfire conversations, relaxing picnics on scenic overlooks, and — best of all – abundant  wildflowers. 
We have wildflowers in Rock County, but there’s nothing like rounding the curve of a wooded trail that opens into meadow aflame with multiple wildflower species.
We meet in the Hills the same week in July every year, and the dates seem to always correspond with peak wildflower bloom in the Hills.
The bee balm in particular intrigue me. Their hairy purple tufts atop sturdy, leafless stems remind of Dr. Seuss’ children’s art in “The Lorax.”
Like the field of poppies Dorothy encounters in the land of Oz, these beauties blanket the meadows and line the trails while black-eyed Susans compete for attention among the more understated pasqueflowers and bluebells.
The bright petals in lush green grass under deep blue skies against a backdrop of towering pines … are nothing short of breathtaking. Each time it stops me in my tracks.
I turn off the hum of the motor and breathe in the fragrant clean air.
While the collective chorus of flowers afield is striking, even more compelling are the lone wildflowers that sprout from rocks and tree roots along traveled paths.
They’re relatively rare, but after traveling hundreds of miles of Black Hills trails, I’ve seen them often enough to contemplate their existence.
Why would a flower bloom in the driest, hardest, rockiest soil, and how does it manage to thrive under the worst growing conditions?
You’d expect them to look wilted and woebegone, but they don’t. The ones I’ve noticed are strong and perky, despite their environment.
It’s as if they’re on a special mission to brighten an otherwise barren and bereft landscape … to improve their own little corner of the world.
Of course, I know humans like these very determined lone wildflowers.
They’re a rare breed who understand they can’t change the world, but they make a world of difference where they live.
They’re the beacon in the night for someone adrift in a black, stormy sea. They’re the kind voice amid a crowd of rejection.
And, despite the scarcest of resources in the harshest conditions, they lift weary souls and bring sunshine to dark places.
Be like the Black Hills wildflowers, dear readers. Especially those lone standouts along the rocky trail.
The world — at least our little corners of our world — could use more encouragement.

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