The Peace of Prairie

“Here is the world. Beautiful and terrible things will happen. Don’t be afraid.” — Frederick Buechner

********

Take a deep breath.

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Let’s go to the prairie.

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Look around.

The natural world goes on. The sandhill cranes scrawl their way north, their annual aerial ballet and vocalizations announcing spring.

In the tallgrass this week, some of the prescribed burns may be delayed, but the warmth and light invite the first shoots out of the soil.

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The last seeds cling to their pods…

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…then drop to the ground, pummeled by March’s rain and snow-sleet.

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I walk the paths, pausing to check for new growth of the pasque flowers. None up yet. Or are they camouflaged? Pasque flowers are notoriously difficult to find at any stage of growth. But I enjoy the blush of little bluestem that lends its color to the sandier areas of the March prairie;…

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…and the tubed bee balm flowerheads waving in the wind.

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I remember walking this same prairie on 9/11. Quiet. So quiet! Later that frightening week, no contrails crisscrossed the sky as jet travel ground to a halt.

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Today, as I hike, I wonder. What will happen tomorrow? The next week?

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There’s no way to know what direction events will take.

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Nothing to do, really, but look out for each other. Keep walking. Move forward.

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Everywhere, the flattened prairie seems defeated.

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And yet.

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Underneath the dry grasses and battered wildflowers…

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…new life is waiting. Mostly invisible. But there.

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In a time when much of our normal routine is closed off to many of us—our work, the coffee shop, the banality of “normal”—we have the sky…

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…the beauty of clouds…

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…the sound of a stream running…

…and the return of birds.

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I feel a renewed sense of gratitude for what we have. Our families.

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Our friends, even when we don’t see them face to face. The joys of a sunrise. Longer daylight hours. The delights of the natural world, coming to life. Greening up.

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Each day is a gift. The days have never seemed more precious than now.

*****

The opening blog quote is from American writer and theologian Frederick Buechner (1926-). His books include Whistling in the Dark, and Telling Secrets. Thank you to my sister, Sherry, who shares this quote frequently. (Love you, sis.)

*****

All photos and videos copyright Cindy Crosby (top to bottom):Β  Sunset after the burn, College of DuPage Russell Kirt Prairie, Glen Elllyn, IL; Willoway Brook, Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; sandhill cranes (Antigone canadensis), The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; new plant shoots on the Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; Illinois bundleflower (Desmanthus illinoensis), Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL;Β  little bluestem (Schizachyrium scoparium), Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; bee balm (Monarda fistulosa), Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; skies over the Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; big bluestem (Andropogon gerardii), Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; compass plant (Silphium laciniatum), Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; hiking the Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; prairie dock (Silphium terebinthinaceum), Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; prairie dropseed (Sporobolus heterolepis); Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; compass plant (Silphium laciniatum), Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; evening primrose (Oenothera clelandii), Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; pale prairie plantain (Arnoglossum atriplicifolium), Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; Willoway Brook and prairie skies, Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; Willoway Brook in March, Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL: empty bird’s nest, Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; hiking the Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL: sunset on the College of DuPage Russell Kirt Prairie, Glen Ellyn, IL.

*****

For current updates on Cindy’s speaking and classes, visit http://www.cindycrosby.com

18 responses to “The Peace of Prairie

  1. Thank you. Simply, thank you.
    (The sandhill cranes a few days ago were amazing – so many!!! And they kept coming…wave after wave.)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for this beautiful reminder.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am calmer just for reading this and looking at your beautiful photos. Thanks for your calming voice in this time of chaos and anxiety. For now, I’m heading to the prairie too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for taking a moment to let me know you read and were calmed by the post today, Amy. I feel a sense of kinship (even though we can’t meet face to face!) knowing you and other readers are outside, walking, and experiencing the peace that the prairie offers in times like these. Grateful for all you do. — Cindy πŸ™‚

      Like

  4. shragorossyahoocom

    The early birds are returning even though food still seems scarce

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Katherine Jarva

    Beautiful, and inspiring. As always. Thank you. Precious words and pictures on a morning such as this. Kj

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Never more grateful and appreciative for the ability to take a walk in nature.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m not sure I’ll ever take it for granted again, Mike. Jeff and I saw many family groups on the prairie Sunday — walking together, and yet staying away from other hikers — for the first time. I hope the solace of nature is a calming influence in these coming weeks. I spent a good part of the afternoon working in the garden and it was better than medicine. Grateful for your faithful readership and your timely comments. Take care, and be well! — Cindy πŸ™‚

      Like

  7. Thanks, Cindy. So good to hear your voice this morning!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Grateful for the good work you do sharing the beauties of the natural world with all of us, Joel. If you need a good dose of nature, check out Joel’s website: https://www.joelsheesley.com/ and you can virtually enjoy his paintings of the Fox River (and other places). Sending you healing thoughts and wishes for a peaceful week, Joel! Thank you for reading and taking a moment to drop me a note. — Cindy πŸ™‚

      Like

  8. Thank you for this, Cindy. I’ve been struggling to put my thoughts into words all week long because I keep getting overtaken by my fears and that’s not what I want to put out into the world right now. I’m trying to get inspired by the photos I’ve taken on my walks over the past few days, so I hope to get something written in the next day or two. Deep breaths….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for reading, Kim, and taking a moment to share. We’re all in this together. You and I know that one of the best places right now is nature, and its healing presence. Take your time, and I’ll be anticipating some “Nature Therapy” from you! Grateful for your work in the world. Be well! Cindy πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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