Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Prairie bling

I took a walk through the park today. We have some native prairie, glacial till tall-grass prairie on a south-facing slope, too steep for plowing or ranching. It's amazing how colorful these native places are, how alive with flowers and grasses and insects and birds. I often wish I could go back in time to when the Europeans first came to this place, and see what it was like.

This is what was blooming:


Prairie blazing star

Greyhead coneflower

White snakeroot (this was found in a wet, shady spot along a ravine)

Jewelweed (again, in a wet spot. Hummingbirds love jewelweed).

Smooth sumac (ok, this wasn't blooming, but it is starting to turn red)

Wild onion (or wild garlic??)

This is about when my camera batteries died. So the ox-eye sunflower and all the many grasses (big bluestem, little bluestem, switchgrass, Indian grass, for example) didn't make it on film. That's okay. I'm not that great a photographer anyway. You can't really capture a prairie on camera. You can take pictures of all the different plants living there, but the prairie is the cummulation of all these plants, and the soil and the rocks, and the bugs and the animals that live within it.

The color of the flowers and grasses and the blue of the sky. The smell of leaves and grass drying in the sun. The sound of insects and small animals rustling through the undergrowth. The breeze waving over the tops of the grass, pushing the clouds slowly across the sky. And the pure expanse, the sheer vastness of the prairie can take your breath away.


miSz tUna said...

I've always read about prairies in storybooks, but I never knew how to imagine them. I think your post has, more or less made it clearer to me. THanks :)

Jo said...

Is there anything like a prairie, or grassland where you live? I really need to learn more about Malaysia!

miSz tUna said...

We've plenty of greeneries, there're fieds of grass so comfortable you could almost sleep on it (unless if it rained recently, because the soft ground would be slightly muddy) and bushes in places, but I think whatever we have here is much different than yours over there because of the climate difference?