Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Headwaters: A Journey on Alabama Rivers

Headwaters: A Journey on Alabama Rivers
Photographs by Beth Maynor Young; text by John C. Hall

Ah, spring! Time to get out and enjoy the warmth and the sun and the pollen! Recently, my family and I travelled to the wilds of Bibb County to see an increasingly rare sight: the blooming of the flower called the Cahaba Lily.

If you are not into long hikes into nature (like my spouse), then the Cahaba River National Wildlife Refuge near West Blocton, Alabama, is the place to go. There you can easily drive down the river bank to view one of the largest surviving stands of the Cahaba Lily, a beautiful flower that once was found on almost all Alabama rivers systems. In the 20th century, dams destroyed the habitat of almost all of these, leaving scattered areas of survivors in Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina.

If even a short drive is too much, sit back and relax with this beautifully illustrated book. For armchair travelers, it is wonderful. Covering different Alabama river systems from the Mobile Bay area north to Tennessee, there is a nice group of photos of the lilies. Even though the photos can hardly do justice to the actual scenes, it is a great way to enjoy the gorgeous scenery of our state and perhaps to plan a short trip to one or more of the natural wonders in Alabama.

Go now—the Cahaba Lily blooms between mid-May and mid-June. For many this book would make a nice gift and for anyone it will provide a few hours of escape from the everyday hustle bustle of city life. Hopefully Ms. Young and Mr. Hall will issue another collaboration soon.

Jonathan Newman
Avondale Regional Branch Library

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