Prairie Endings and Beginnings

“What we call the beginning is often the end. And to make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from.” –T. S. Eliot

IMG_0753 (1)

October recedes in the rear-view mirror.

IMG_0730

Hello, November.

On the edge of the prairie, ruby-leaved maples still spill their colors into the cold, blue air.

IMG_0751

An Asian beetle scrambles along a wooden beam, then slows.

IMG_0749

Grasshoppers flip and turn on the bridge through the tallgrass, then pause, as if asking: “What’s next?”

IMG_0743

It’s the end of one cycle. And the beginning of another.

The season of seeds.

IMG_0700

The prairie explodes with a seed extravaganza.

Asters shake their pom poms.

IMG_0759 (1)

Milkweeds breathe out tendrils of silk.

IMG_0696

Cattails wave their batons to the rhythm the wind commands.

Seeds, seeds, seeds.

IMG_0676

The prairie tosses its curls full of Canada wild rye, punctuated with thistle.

IMG_0771

Enchanter’s nightshade casts its spell over the prairie savanna.

IMG_9027

One by one, the seeds ripen, then loosen.

And so, they begin their journeys. Some by wind…

IMG_0755

Some by water…

IMG_0734

Some lifted by the hands of volunteers, who spend hours in the tallgrass picking prairie seeds into buckets;

IMG_8808

spread them out in trays to dry.

IMG_9139

The seeds wait, ready to be sown on winter’s first snow. The cold, damp conditions will ready them for germination in the spring.

Littlebluestem2015SP

The end of one chapter; the beginning of another.

IMG_0717

The promise of something new to come.

All photos by Cindy Crosby: (top to bottom) Leaves, Springbrook Nature Center, Itasca, IL; bridge, SNC; maple (Acer spp.), SNC; Asian beetle, SNC; grasshopper, SNC; wild plum (Prunus americana), Songbird Slough Forest Preserve of DuPage County, Itasca, IL; asters (unknown species) , SS;  milkweed pod (Asclepias syriaca), SS; cattails (Typha latifolia), SS; Canada wild rye (Elymus canadensis), Nachusa Grasslands, Franklin Grove, IL; enchanter’s nightshade (Circaea lutetiana canadensis), NG; beebalm with milkweed seed (Monarda fistulosa and Asclepias syriaca), author’s backyard in Glen Ellyn, IL; Springbrook Creek by the prairie at SNC; seeds collected on the Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL;  native prairie seeds drying in the headhouse, SP;  little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), SP; goldenrod (Solidago spp), SS.

The opening quote is from T.S. Eliot’s “Four Quartets.”

5 responses to “Prairie Endings and Beginnings

  1. Beautiful, Cindy. So glad I get to read these each week.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love all the pictures and your poetic thoughts!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you, Mary and Pam, for reading!

    Like

  4. Love the milkweed and cattail lines. And once again you’ve identified a grass for me – thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So glad I could help, Sondra! Thanks for reading.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s