Ten minutes of watching any cable news channel these days will easily convince you that the world is quickly going to hell and we’re all just bystanders.  The shrillness of the back and forth between the “good” guys and the “bad” guys is deafening.  Antics of Washington politicians remind me more of professional “rasseling” than anything remotely resembling governance.

So today I went in search of sanity.

And found it sitting next to Jimmy :Big Daddy” Lawler in a Polaris 900 Ranger on a series of leafy trails deep in Wilcox County.  Several months ago I shared info about the section of this Black Belt county known as the Grampian Hills.  Jimmy promised me then that if I would come back in a few months, he would give me the grand tour.

He did not disappoint me.

We explored 12 miles of dense hardwood, a meandering creek, steep drop-offs, wood ducks, some bounding deer and even a small waterfall.  Though Mother Nature did not have all of her colors with her this fall when she painted these woods, it was still spectacular.

Though Wilcox County might well be the buckle of the Black Belt, the topography of the Grampian Hills is decidedly not like the surrounding countryside.  This section has high ridges and deep ravines.   As we maneuvered the trail sometimes on one side it was 100 feet or more to the top of the ridge, while the other side plunged almost straight down.

But it’s largely the plant life that makes these hills so unique.  There are 20 or 21 different varieties of fern here  (Depending on which botanist you talk to says Big Daddy.). There are five varieties of magnolia.  Big Leaf, Pyramid, Southern, Cucumber and Sweet Bay.  Alabama’s champion Big Leaf and Pyramid magnolias are on the property.

The state’s largest Two-winged Silverbell, Chalk Maple, White Ash and Red Buckeye are also here.  And a huge Southern Shagbark Hickory is the national champion.

Botanists from around the country have been here.  It’s easy to understand why.  And while definitely rich in flora and fauna, it’s greatest treasure is the reminder that we live in a wonderful and vast world.  And that the tiny trickle of clear water running down a hillside has far more relevance than the ceaseless bellowing of ego-maniacs masquerading as government “leaders” these days.

These trickles have been running for eons, slowly reshaping a magical land.  Hopefully, they will continue for eons to come.

And that is a lesson many in the nation’s capitol need to learn.  That in the grand scheme of what really matters, their short time in office is little more than the bat of an eye.

Thanks Big Daddy.  It was a helluva ride.