“Where there is no vision, there is no hope.” George Washington Carver.
It’s an unseasonably warm day in December. Fog shrouds the prairie. Everything softens. Fades. Blurs.
Bison haunt the tallgrass, elusive and half-hidden.
Illinois once had more than 22 million acres of prairie.
Today, only 3,000 original acres of tallgrass remain.
A ghost of what once was.
When we went looking for what was left of the prairie, we found only scraps. Prairie was found in pockets and corners of land where the farmer’s plow and development could not reach.
Around rocky outcrops.
Along old railroad right of ways.
Tucked into neglected graveyards.
Isn’t it ironic that these neglected, overlooked places were virtual time capsules? That the cemeteries of the dead became a repository for the living? For hope?
A springboard for rebirth. Resurrection.
It takes vision to imagine a better future. To remember — and believe — that hope for the future may be found in the most unexpected places. Where will you look?
All photos by Cindy Crosby except where noted (top to bottom) : prairie in the fog, Nachusa Grasslands, Franklin Grove, IL; bison in the fog, NG; misty December evening, NG; stand of trees in the tallgrass, NG; rocky knob, NG; railroad tracks, Bosque del Apache, San Antonio, New Mexico — photo by Jeff Crosby; tombstone, Chapel Hill Cemetery, just outside Rochelle, IL; CHC:; road through the bison unit, NG.