The many Nebraska sandhill lakes and there are thousands of them all had hardy water lilies. Not now, cattle have trampled them to near extinction. Really a shame, they were so pretty.
If you read an earlier post of mine about catching a big fish and a nude bicycle ride the lake where I caught the fish and swam all the time had perhaps thousands of water lilies around the more shallow shore line. Some of the fishermen complained about their tackle getting snagged on the lilies. .
I had a secret spot at the lake or at least I called it secret because I think I was the only one dumb enough to go there.
The spot was across the lake in a glade. There was so much undergrowth and brush and trees that you couldn't just walk around the lake , you had to swim, then slog through sticky mud up to your knees to get there. But the spot always caught my attention as a kid and I wondered at the three tree trunks that looked lightning blasted. The were roughly in a triangle shape with the two larger ones at the triangle base and a taller slimmer on at the point. I always wanted to sit in the middle of the triangle, don't remember what fantasies i had when I was sitting there BUT I made a wonderful discovery. There was a very large patch of wild strawberries in the area. They were not much larger than the end of my little finger but they tasted so good. I can still remember the taste of those sun warmed strawberries. Delicious. Here I was with sticky gooey mud drying on my legs an mud on my hands, tried to was them but the lake was really just a swamp at that end. I ate the berries anyway and loved them.
One of the I thought strangest thiongs was an ordinary box turtle that had discovered the berries too. I found out if I picked a berry and held it in front of the turtle it would always take it from me. The turtle didn't care if the stem was still on the berry or not , it ate every one I handed it.. Only saw the turtle one time and was surprised to see a box turtle that close to water, they always seemed to be in the dry places.
It was easier going back across the lake, you could scrub the plaster-like mud off before you got to the other side, when you got to deep water you could dive down and scrub..
Never took any of the wild strawberries home. Didn't have any way to carry them. I just had a pair of wool trunks and a bike. Grandma understood though, she told me a story of when she was a girl finding a big patch of strawberries on the prairie and just sitting and eating . WE had a big strawberry bed at home, lots of shortcakes and homemade jam but I think the flavor of those wild berries was better than any strawberry I eaten since.
Here I go again, starter out complaining about the loss of the native water lilies and wind up talking about wild strawberries. Guess my thinking isn't linear. Enough