Spring’s Contrasts on the Prairie

“April golden, April cloudy, Gracious, cruel, tender, rowdy...”–Ogden Nash.

***

Spring on the prairie is a showcase of contrasts at the end of April.

Jacob’s ladder.

P1060859.jpg

Sand phlox. So small! Like a paper snowflake carefully cut out with scissors.

P1060912.jpg

Tiny blooms. Balanced by rough-and-tumble bison, the heavyweight champs of the prairie.

P1060705.jpg

Delicate spreadwing damselflies emerge from ponds to tremble in the sun.

P1060794.jpg

Furry beavers coast by, on their way to ongoing construction projects.

P1060786.jpg

There’s evidence of egrets. Their pale feathers a contrast to…

P1060775.jpg

…the bright buttery sunshine of marsh marigolds, with a lipstick red beetle.

P1060846.jpg

The beetle seems minuscule until a spider wanders into the scene. The line it throws is deceptively fragile looking. Yet, it’s strong enough to capture supper.

P1060779.jpg

There is life high above, in the flight of a blue heron scared up from the fen.

P1060864.jpg

While below, tossed carelessly in the grasses, are souvenirs of death.

P1060863.jpg

Life cut short.

P1060881.jpg

Beauty and terror co-exist, side-by-side.

P1060883.jpg

But the stars still come out –shooting stars! Make a wish.

P1060870.jpg

Life, death, rebirth. It’s all here…

P1060736.jpg

…at the end of April on the prairie.

***

The opening quote is from the poet (Frederic) Ogden Nash (1902-71) and his poem, “Always Marry an April Girl.” Nash is known for his humorous rhyming verse, and his nonsensical words. An example: “If called by a panther/don’t anther.”

All photos copyright Cindy Crosby at Nachusa Grasslands, The Nature Conservancy, Franklin Grove, IL (top to bottom): Jacob’s ladder (Polemonium reptans), sand phlox (Phlox bifida bifida); bison (Bison bison); possibly sweetflag spreadwing (Lestes forcipatus) (ID uncertain); beaver (Castor canadensis); egret feather (Ardea alba); marsh marigolds (Caltha palustris) with an unknown beetle;  unknown spider; blue heron (Ardea herodias); bones in the grasses;  possibly red-winged blackbird egg (Agelaius phoeniceus) in nest; shooting star (Dodecatheon meadia) with nest; shooting star (Dodecatheon meadia); violet sorrel (Oxalis violacea) with an unknown pollinator. Thanks to Bernie Buchholz for showing me the sand phlox, and John Heneghan, for help with the nest ID.

7 responses to “Spring’s Contrasts on the Prairie

  1. It intrigues me that you have different species than we have here, such as the spreading damselfly, and the sand phlox. And also, you’re far ahead of us. The differences are fun to observe.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. keithskreations15

    Awesome photos! BTW- Eagerly awaiting the arrival of your Prairie book.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. lovely photos, great captions… love me some April!

    Liked by 1 person

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