“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”— John Lubbock
June – and summer arrives on the prairie.
As the prairie heats up, we slow down and observe more closely.
On one side of the trail, purple meadow rue shakes out her tassels.
On another, scurfy pea tumbles out its blooms.
Everywhere, bedstraw laces the prairie with white.
Occasionally, Scribner’s panic grass explodes in electric profusion.
Nothing to panic about. It all speaks of summer. A time to walk, to look, and to marvel. A time to pay attention.
The big story on the early June prairie is pale purple coneflower.
… alien-esque. The flowers bend and turn.
Petals emerge, sharp looking and spiky…
…then drop softly to the sides.
The plant takes on a new look, more badminton birdie than alien.
And you can’t help but feel joy in the presence of all that bright pinky-purple.
It’s the joy of the flowers. The happiness of the season. The delight in idling for a while on the prairie, and seeing what unfolds.
All photos by Cindy Crosby at the Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL (top to bottom): the prairie in June; red-winged blackbird with white wild indigo (Baptisia alba) ; purple meadow rue (Thalictrum dasycarpum) ; scurfy pea (Psoralidium tenuiflorum); Northern bedstraw (Galium boreale); Scribner’s panic grass (Dichanthelium oligosanthes scribnerianum); all other photos pale purple coneflowers ((Echinacea pallida).
John Lubbock (1834-1913), whose quote begins this essay, was an English writer, botanist, archeologist, and contemporary of Charles Darwin.