The forests are ablaze at the end of October;
The stained glass of trees
Melts into the last smoldering embers of color.
The prairie becomes a vast sea of grass:
waves and waves and waves of grass
you long to throw yourself into it; feel the seed spray
even as you wonder over the last green and gold leaves; like anemones in the liquid air; sprouted from the prairie floor
You know this green will crumble into what is inevitable
A transition we can accept with grace, or rebel against it
We set a brave face against the coming cold
and yet, we forget
what we are given is gold.
The wind blows, whipping up whitecaps from horizon to horizon
the froth of a hundred thousand prairie flowers gone to seed
that crest and foam against
those few rocky islands, which float through the grasses
and even as the turn of seasons brings a kind of melancholy
we bravely set sail for what we can’t yet see
but believe is there, just over the horizon line.
All photos by Cindy Crosby (top to bottom): First sixteen photos from The Morton Arboretum and its Schulenberg Prairie, Lisle, IL; road through the sumac, Nachusa Grasslands, Franklin Grove, IL; island of trees on the prairie, Franklin Creek Grist Mill prairie, Franklin Grove, IL; barn and boat, just outside Ashton, IL.