Category Archives: sunrise

Beginnings

Morning dawns on the prairie.

IMG_3151

A lone red-winged blackbird calls. No breeze rustles the brittle, bleached out stands of little bluestem; the dry stalks of prairie switchgrass. The seedpods of of St. John’s wort and other bloomers have long since cracked open and dropped their seeds. There’s the promise of something new ready to germinate.

IMG_3410

 

Few flames from prescribed burns have touched the tallgrass here in Illinois … yet. But there is the rumor of fire.

IMG_3872

 

The temperatures have warmed. The wind whispers “it’s time.”

IMG_3399

 

Time for everything to begin again.

IMG_7673

 

To burn off the old; to spark something new.

IMG_3745

 

With the flames will go our memories of a season now past. What waits for us  …

IMG_3769

…will build on what went before, but is still unknown.

There is a sadness in letting go of what we have.

IMG_3154

 

Yet to not move forward– to shy away from that which that will seemingly destroy the tallgrass– is to set the prairie back. To keep it from reaching its full potential.

So we embrace the fire.

IMG_6222

 

We accept that things will change.  IMG_7100

 

We realize there will be surprises. Things we don’t expect.

IMG_7899.jpg

 

We strike the match. Say goodbye to ice and snow.

IMG_3453

 

Watch the prairie go up in flames.

IMG_3623

 

We wait to see what will appear.

On the other side of the fire.

IMG_9064.jpg

All photos copyright Cindy Crosby: (top to bottom) sunrise, Meadow Lake prairie planting, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; prairie grasses and Great St. John’s Wort (Hypericum pyramidatum), Meadow Lake prairie planting, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; prescribed burn, Nachusa Grasslands, Franklin Grove, IL; Willoway Brook, The Schulenberg Prairie, Lisle, IL; eastern cottontail, Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL;   prescribed burn, The Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; prescribed burn sign, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; Meadow Lake prairie planting, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; prescribed burn, The Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; July on the Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL;  twin fawns, Schulenberg Prairie, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; Meadow Lake prairie planting, The Morton Arboretum, Lisle, IL; prescribed burn, Nachusa Grasslands, Franklin Grove, IL; two-track through Nachusa Grasslands, Franklin Grove, IL. 

 

Sun, Surf, and Tallgrass

Like many Midwesterners, I migrated south this week. I’m temporarily trading tallgrass for beaches and waves, warmth, and a change of pace.

Florida sunsets are legendary.

IMG_2675.jpg

 

No more exotic, however, than prairie sunrises. So much color! From tangerine, rose, and purple …

IMG_1401.jpg

 

…to solid gold.

IMG_9381.jpg

 

Prairie sunsets are also in a class of their own. Often, they close the day with a smooth pastel coda.

IMG_1300

 

Other evenings, they bring the day to an end with texture and movement.

IMG_9454.jpg

 

Between sunrise and sunset, the prairie skies are a prime canvas to thumbprint a sundog.

IMG_1845.jpg

 

A sundog’s fleeting rainbow luminescence is a pleasant, unexpected bonus; especially after a bone-chilling February day hiking the tallgrass.

IMG_2645

 

This week, I’ll walk the beach each night, enjoying the light show over the Gulf of Mexico.

On one evening the spectacle is in neon …

IMG_3687.jpg

 

… on another, the display may be more subdued.

IMG_2710.jpg

 

But—for a Midwestern girl like myself—nothing beats the winter kaleidoscope of Illinois’ prairie skies.

IMG_4959 (1).jpg

All photos copyright Cindy Crosby (top to bottom): sunrise, Captiva Island, Florida; sunrise, author’s backyard prairie, Glen Ellyn, IL; sunrise, Hidden Lake, Forest Preserve of DuPage County, Downers Grove, IL; sunset with tent, Nachusa Grasslands, Franklin Grove, IL; sunset, Hidden Lake, Forest Preserve District of DuPage County, Downers Grove, IL;  sundog, Cook County Forest Preserves; sundog, Russell Kirt Prairie East, College of DuPage, Glen Ellyn, IL; sunset, Sanibel Island, Florida; sunset, Captiva Island, Florida; sunset, author’s prairie, Glen Ellyn, IL.