Exploring a Prairie Stream

It’s hot. Pull on your hip boots and wade into Clear Creek with me. Let’s see what morning brings to a prairie stream.

It’s 9 a.m., but the dewdrops still spangle the grasses.

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In the shallows, a flower opens, half submerged.

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A spider hangs her web out to dry.

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The dragonflies and damselflies are half hidden along the shoreline,  shivering off the cool of the early hours.

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Springwater dancer damselflies, colored an impossible blue hue, soak up the morning light.

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Nearby, a eastern tiger swallowtail turns to stained glass as she sips nectar in the sunshine.

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In the marshy areas, a blue dasher–slightly befuddled–balances on a twig, trying to wake up. Must not have had his coffee yet.

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An eastern pondhawk camouflages herself in the grasses as she considers her plans for the day.

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A Halloween pennant uses his wings as solar panels, ready to let the light lift him aloft.

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Everywhere you turn, there is something ordinary that seems extraordinary when covered in dew.

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And you realize what you would have missed…

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…had you not gone wading in a prairie stream.

All photos copyright Cindy Crosby (top to bottom): dewdrops on grasses, Nachusa Grasslands, The Nature Conservancy, Franklin Grove, IL; flower opening in the stream, Nachusa Grasslands, The Nature Conservancy, Franklin Grove, IL;  spider web across Clear Creek, Nachusa Grasslands, The Nature Conservancy, Franklin Grove, IL; ebony jewelwing damselfly (Calopteryx maculata), Nachusa Grasslands, The Nature Conservancy, Franklin Grove, IL; springwater dancer damselfly (Argia plana), Nachusa Grasslands, The Nature Conservancy, Franklin Grove, IL; eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucus), Nachusa Grasslands, The Nature Conservancy, Franklin Grove, IL; blue dasher dragonfly (male) (Pachydiplax longipennis), Nachusa Grasslands, The Nature Conservancy, Franklin Grove, IL; eastern pondhawk dragonfly (female) (Erythemis simplicicollis), Nachusa Grasslands, The Nature Conservancy, Franklin Grove, IL; Halloween pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina), Nachusa Grasslands, The Nature Conservancy, Franklin Grove, IL; dewdrops on grasses, Nachusa Grasslands, The Nature Conservancy, Franklin Grove, IL; Clear Creek, Nachusa Grasslands, The Nature Conservancy, Franklin Grove, IL. 

11 responses to “Exploring a Prairie Stream

  1. This post refreshes my spirit! I’m going to have to find me a stream to wade in 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What wonderful photos!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Especially fun since I know this place so well. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My friend, you are a poet… What an exceptionally gorgeous post – both text and photography! (Loved the dewdrops and the delicate shadow of the dragonfly’s wing!) Have you considered writing a book?? xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s so lovely — thank you. New book, Introduction to the Tallgrass Prairie: A Beginner’s Guide comes out from Northwestern University Press in spring 2017. Very happy to share prairie in that way!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow, you’ve outdone yourself on the photography this time! The dewdrops are so otherworldly. Excellent blog!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wonderful news!! Congratulations, my friend!! 🌻🌻🌻

    Liked by 1 person

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