“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.” – attributed to Kurt Vonnegut
Why would anyone walk the prairie in November? Come and find out.
See the sandhill cranes, headed south, as they have done from time out of mind. They tell us one season is done; another is unfolding. Are you listening?
Marvel at the curve of a dried compass plant leaf, which once took its directions from the sun.
Enjoy the sweep of prairie sky over the bleached grasses. So much contrast!
Watch the seeds of many different plants lift and float on a breath of wind.
Others drop and scatter. So many different types of seeds on the prairie! Imagine where they will land…
…and what each seed might become. Think about how one seed may eventually give life to other living things.
Marvel at the spiky rattlesnake master seedheads. So much diversity! It’s what makes the prairie rich and interesting.
Even the polished spheres of goldenrod galls each hold a tiny insect inside. The humblest prairie plant does its part to provide a home and nourishment for the winter for a prairie creature.
Miraculous, isn’t it? The world holds wonders. So much diversity; all working together. Everything moving forward.
Take time to look. To remember. Then, to give thanks.
The opening quote is sometimes attributed to Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007), shared with me by Carolyn McCready. Vonnegut was a prisoner of war during the bombing of Dresden (1945) and lost many of the people he loved to various tragedies, including divorce, suicide, and cancer. Yet, he still believed the world was a beautiful place.
All photos copyright Cindy Crosby (top to bottom) prairie cordgrass (Spartina pectinata), St. Stephen’s Cemetery PRairie, Carol Stream, IL; sandhill cranes (Grus canadensis) over author’s backyard prairie patch, Glen Ellyn, IL; compass plant (Silphium laciniatum), Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; Nachusa Grasslands, The Nature Conservancy, Franklin Grove, IL; dogbane or Indian hemp (Apocynum cannabinum), St. Stephen’s Cemetery Prairie, Carol Stream, IL; seedheads in the tallgrass at St. Stephen’s Cemetery Prairie, Carol Stream, IL; fritillary butterfly (Speyeria spp.) on wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa), Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; rattlesnake master (Eryngium yuccifolium), St. Stephen’s Cemetery Prairie, Carol Stream, IL; goldenrod gall, St. Stephen’s Cemetery Prairie, Carol Stream, IL.