Prairie Endings and Beginnings

“Each moment is a place you’ve never been.” — Mark Strand

****

May slides toward its inevitable conclusion. New wildflowers open each day. Grasses concentrate on becoming fuller, lusher.

Golden Alexanders, looking other-worldly, finishes a spectacular bloom season. Bravo!

P1070772.jpg

The first flowers of prairie smoke open.

P1070484.jpg

The remains of last year’s grasses and dry seedheads still patch the unburned prairie in places.

kentfullerprairie517.JPG

Just as the native dwarf dandelions begin to bloom…

P1070337.jpg

…the small white lady’s slipper orchids wither; ghosts of their once bright selves.

P1070793.jpg

Damselflies emerge.

SP51817malemimic easternforktail female.jpg

Fringed puccoon blooms, low in the grasses.

FringedpuccoonNG517.jpg

Nibbled by insects and small animals; ragged and worn by temperamental spring weather, the last prairie violets contemplate setting seed.

P1070554.jpg

A female orchard oriole arrives. She’s looking for a mate; ready to raise a brood. She’ll weave a grassy pouch, sling it onto a forked branch, then fill it with half a dozen blue-gray, splotchy eggs.

She seems pretty calm about the hard work ahead.

P1070758 (1).jpg

Wild hyacinth flowers open from bottom to top. The seeds, like crazy punctuation marks, form close behind.

P1070778

Beginnings and endings on the prairie. Every spring day brings more.

glenviewprairiekentfullerairstationtwo517 (1).jpg

They’re worth watching for.

****

Mark Strand (1934-2014), whose quote from “Black Maps”  (Collected Poems) opens this post, was a Poet Laureate of the United States (1990). He won many awards for his writing, including a Pulitzer Prize for his poetry collection, “Blizzard of One.”

All photos copyright Cindy Crosby (top to bottom): golden Alexanders (Zizea aurea), Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; prairie smoke (Geum triflorum), Nachusa Grasslands, The Nature Conservancy, Franklin Grove, IL; sunset, Kent Fuller Air Station Prairie, Glenview, IL;  dwarf dandelion (Krigia virginica), Nachusa Grasslands, The Nature Conservancy, Franklin Grove, IL; small white lady’s slipper (Cypripedium candidum), The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; male mimic female eastern forktail (Ischnura verticalis ), Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; fringed puccoon (Lithospermum incisum), Nachusa Grasslands, The Nature Conservancy, Franklin Grove, IL; prairie violet (Viola peditifida), Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; female orchard oriole (Icterus spurius), Schulenberg Prairie Visitor Station, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; wild hyacinth (Camassia scilloides), Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; sunset, Kent Fuller Air Station Prairie, Glenview, IL.

8 responses to “Prairie Endings and Beginnings

  1. Yesterday’s Palos Woods hike profited my first find of Shooting Stars. Surely I have passed them (and many other wildflowers) before, but thanks to You Cindy, I appreciate them and “all this” quite a bit more. Intriguing and fascinating!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Shooting stars! So exciting that you saw them for the first time. Such beautiful wildflowers, and I’m glad you are “seeing” them and telling about them. Thanks, Mike, as always, for sharing and for reading.

      Like

  2. keithskreations15

    Wow! Love your photos. My wife, Selena, is really enjoying your new book. I’m looking forward to my turn. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s so nice! Thank you for reading the blog — and the new book! — and thanks for taking time to share your comment. Hope you are enjoying all the spring wildflowers!

      Like

  3. So good to see Illinois wildflowers, if only in the photos. Even among all the beauty of Arizona, I dearly miss all that moisture, woods, and lush prairies of Illinois, the littlest of patches grow on you.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Katherine Jarva

    I so enjoy your weekly posts – was introduced by a friend and have also spread the word myself. Just beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and photography. KJarva

    On Tue, May 23, 2017 at 7:20 AM, Tuesdays in the Tallgrass wrote:

    > Cindy Crosby posted: “”Each moment is a place you’ve never been.” — Mark > Strand **** May slides toward its inevitable conclusion. New wildflowers > open each day. Grasses concentrate on becoming fuller, lusher. Golden > Alexander, looking other-worldly, finishes a spectacular ” >

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so grateful for you reading and sharing the blog, Katherine! It’s people like you that spread the word about our natural areas. Thanks for taking time to drop me a note!

      Like

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