J.C. Coon: Fiddlehead Ferns

Hubby and I were traveling the back dirt roads of Clarke County this week (thanks Clarke for still having ‘back roads’ and “dirt roads”) and what to my wondering eyes should appear but a whole bank of beautiful ferns!   Made hubby stop the truck and back up (on a dirt, back road, you can do that).  I just had to snap a photo of a springtime memory long forgotten — Fiddlehead Ferns. What a beauty to behold.

Wasting no time I uploaded it onto my Facebook page with my reminiscence of how we used to pick them to sauté in butter.  My friend asked if I had picked them. Sadly no. They were not mine to harvest.  But they were indeed a feast for the mind and joy to my memory.

As the day went on my mind traveled to a time gone by.  To a time when I would spend every free weekend trekking out Rt 29/211 (when it was still two lanes) headed for Shenandoah National Park.  I would have spent the week preparing for the weekend.  It was a big deal; backpacking.  You needed to make sure that everything in your backpack was just what you needed. No more no less.  Weight and balance were of optimum importance.  After work I would put on double socks, lace up my Vasque hiking boots, (with purple laces-how kool I was) put on my backpack and walk around the neighborhood.  A blister on the trail…not a pretty sight…need to have tough seasoned feet.

How grateful I am to all who have gone before me and to all who still fight hard to keep ‘green space’ in our world.  No museum can capture the vision of the dew of early morning on the grass as you awaken from a night’s sleep in the mountains.  No greenhouse can reproduce the delicate balance of plants placed by our Maker in just the perfect spot.

Take time this spring to soak in the beauty around us.

I used to have a tee shirt from Appalachian Outfitters that said something like “Take only memories.  Leave only footprints.”

Good words to remember.

Happy Earth Day!




  1. Sunshine says:

    Agree with you on the beauty.
    Not even a picture by the best photographer can replace the visual of up close and personal.
    Sautéed in butter? Never tried that but sounds yummy. Wonder if you have to boil them first?

    • J.C.Coon says:

      Sunshine. memory fades as to exactly how I cooked them, but today while reading “Whole Living” magazine page 55 they had an article aon Fiddlehead ferns with potaotes(yum) and the comment was to cook them till bright green. 🙂 J.C.Coon