Cold Mountain: Dangerous Woods

It was a foul region, planed off flat except where there were raw gullies cut deep in the red clay. Scrubby pines everywhere. Trees of a better make had once stood in their place but had been cut down long ago, the only evidence of them now an occasional hardwood stump as big around as a dinner table. Poison ivy grew in thick beds that stretched as far as Inman could see through the woods. It climbed the pine trees and spread among their limbs. The falling needles caught in the tangled ivy vines and softened the lines of the trunks and limbs and formed heavy new shapes of them until the trees loomes like green and grey beasts risen out of the ground.

The forest looked to be sick and dangerous place. It recalled to him a time during the fighting down along the coast when a man had shown him a tiny plant, a strange and hairy thing that grew in bogs. It knew to eat meat, and they fed it little pieces of fatback from the end of a splinter. You could hold the tip of a finger to what stood for its mouth and it would snap at you. These flatwoods seemed only a step away from learning the trick on a grander scale.

Cold Mountain, Charles Frazier

I’m a sucker for any writer who pays attention to plants.

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