“The prairie is one of those plainly visible things that you can’t photograph. No camera lens can take in a big enough piece of it. The prairie landscape embraces the whole of the sky.”—Paul Gruchow
“Prairie Week,” so designated by the Illinois legislature as the third week in September, draws to a close today.
When you think of the word “prairie,” what comes to mind?
Is it prescribed fire, decimating the old, and encouraging the new?
Is it the sweep of the charred land, with a whisper of green?
Is it the prairie in springtime, covered with shooting star?
Or do you imagine the summer prairie, spangled with blooms?
Is it the smell of prairie dropseed, tickling your nose in the fall? Mmmm. That hot buttered popcorn smell, tinged with something undefinable.
Or do you see prairie limned with snow, in its winter colors?
When you think of the word “prairie,” what comes to your mind?
Is it the call of dickcissel?
Is it a butterfly that you see in your mind’s eye?
Or is it bison, claiming the Midwest tallgrass as their own?
What comes to your mind when you think of prairie?
It isn’t as important what you think of when you imagine prairie as this: That you think of prairie at all.
And then, make it your own.
Here, in the prairie state.
Our landscape of home.
The opening quote is from Paul Gruchow’s (1947-2004) wonderful book, Journal of a Prairie Year. The full quote reads: . “The prairie is one of those plainly visible things that you can’t photograph. No camera lens can take in a big enough piece of it. The prairie landscape embraces the whole of the sky. Any undistorted image is too flat to represent the impression of immersion that is central to being on the prairie. The experience is a kind of baptism.” Gruchow’s legacy of love for the prairie continues to connect and engage people’s hearts and minds with the tallgrass.
Join Cindy for a program or class!
Just moved ONLINE: September 27, 7-8:30 p.m.–-“The Tallgrass Prairie: Illinois Original Garden” Arlington Heights Garden Club. Please visit the club’s website here for guest information.
ONLINE –Nature Writing Workshop 2 (through the Morton Arboretum): Deepen your connection to nature and improve your writing skills in this online guided workshop from The Morton Arboretum. This interactive class is the next step for those who’ve completed the Foundations of Nature Writing (N095), or for those with some foundational writing experience looking to further their expertise within a supportive community of fellow nature writers. Please note: This is a “live” workshop; no curriculum. For details and registration, click here. Online access for introductions and discussion boards opens October 12; live sessions on Zoom are four Tuesdays: October 19, October 26, November 2, and November 9, 6:30-8:30 pm.
For more classes and programs, visit Cindy’s website at http://www.cindycrosby.com. Hope to see you soon!
Internet issues delayed today’s post. Thank you for your patience!
When I think of prairie, I think of you and how you’ve made it come alive for me!
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You are so kind, Kim Smith! Thank you, for reading and for your encouraging words. I’m grateful to know you!
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Love this piece, calling to our imaginations, as big as the sky, at the same time calling us home.
Thank you, Eileen! You are an inspiration to me. Cindy 🙂