“For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.” –Leonardo da Vinci
The summer sky tumbles her clouds. The prairie whispers, “flight.”
So many ways to reach new heights on the prairie in August. So many ways to take to the skies.
Butterflies drift through the air like colorful leaves. The tiger swallowtails take frequent snack breaks.
Silver skippers pause, dwarfed by the grasses now shooting skyward, considering their options.
Some prairie inhabitants fly only as far as a hop and a jump.
While others will travel distances limited only by the imagination.
Yet, as satisfying as it is to take to the air, it’s wise to find shade where you can. The blazing prairie sun offers no relief.
The zips and zags of dragonflies dazzle. When one dragonfly comes to rest on a budded blazing star, you can’t help but admire her intricate wings, those complex eyes.
So much is unfolding on the prairie in August.
You sense everything is moving in a new direction.
Time is flying. Will you be there, in the tallgrass?
You’ll be amazed at what you see…
…if you make time to look.
The opening quote is by Leonardo DaVinci (1452-1519), perhaps the most diversely gifted person in history. Among his many interests was flight; he created plans for flying machines and studied the flight of birds.
All photos copyright Cindy Crosby: (top to bottom) big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii) against the August sky, Belmont Prairie Nature Preserve, Downer’s Grove, IL; eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly (Papilio glaucus), St. James Forest Preserve, Warrenville, IL; silver-spotted skipper (Epargyreus clarus), Belmont Prairie Nature Preserve, Downer’s Grove, IL; green frog (Lithobates clamitans), St. James Farm prairie area, Warrenville, IL; American goldfinch(Spinus tristis), St. James Farm, Forest Preserve of DuPage County, Warrenville, IL; great horned owl (Bubo virginianus), Belmont Prairie Nature Preserve, Downer’s Grove, IL; female blue dasher dragonfly (Pachydiplax longipennis)) on rough blazing star (Liatris aspera) Belmont Prairie Nature Conserve, Downer’s Grove, IL; Indian grass unfolding, (Sorghastrum nutans), Belmont Prairie Nature Preserve, Downer’s Grove, IL; old weather vane, St. James Farm, Forest Preserve of DuPage County, Warrenville, IL; vehicle at Nachusa Grasslands, The Nature Conservancy, Franklin Grove, IL; female eastern pondhawk (Erythemis simplicicollis ), Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL.