Thursday, January 6, 2011

Crime Doesn't Pay - Stealing Wild Flowers

Thursday, January 6, 2011

A former employer owns a large piece of wooded land that lies adjacent to its facility. The acreage is completely wild, with a river running through it and all kinds of animals and beautiful wild flowers. Fortunately for the employees, the Company had three walking paths made through the area, so that we could get some exercise and fresh air on lunch hours. I absolutely loved those woods, because once I hit the gravel, the tension from work just evaporated. On nice days, there were lots of people walking, running or eating lunch on the benches that were placed in scenic areas. And for a couple of years, I walked those paths two or three times a week through spring, summer and fall.

Part of the attraction for me was the abundance of beautiful shade-loving wild flowers, including Jack-in-the-pulpit, Mayapple, Tiger Lily, Trillium, Trout Lily, Lily-of-the-Valley and more. Oh, how I wanted some of those flowers in my yard. Unfortunately, in Michigan, it’s illegal to dig up wild flowers. But, I’m ashamed to say, I packed a brown lunch bag with a trowel and a Ziplock bag with a wet paper towel inside it to keep the roots happy. And my walking partner and I hit the woods, looking like we were going to have lunch out there.

When we got to the various areas where we wanted to dig up flowers, we’d listen for other walkers, as I dug up what I wanted. Every few minutes, I’d have to stop, hurry over to the bench and act like I was getting ready to pull a sandwich out of my lunch bag. When the coast was clear again, I’d resume my covert operation. I rationalized that I was just moving them to another wooded area, as our yard backs up to woods that separate our sub from the one north of us. And I knew that I’d take excellent care of those plants. So what harm would come from my crime?

That evening, after work, I lovingly planted those wild flowers in my yard, in the shade just beyond the trees at the edge of the woods. And by the next morning, most of the Trillium flowers had been chopped off by sharp little teeth. I don’t know for sure if it was the deer or the groundhog family that we suspected lived under our deck. By the next day, the rest of the Trillium flowers were gone, as well as some of the other transplants. All that remain today, more than 10 years later, are the Lilies of the Valley.

Forget about turning me in – I’m sure the statute of limitations on wild flower theft has run out. And I learned my lesson. I’ll never do it again. But I think I’ll sneak back into those woods again this spring, because I’d like to see that spectacular wild flower show just one more time.

Photo by: yuki_september©
Title: Lily of the valley


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